Annual integrated report 2011

Our people: SA

Dedicated teams and passionate, committed staff members are essential to ensuring our patients are in safe hands.


The opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we provide care to and work with is central to Netcare’s employee value proposition, and thus to the successful attraction and retention of talent.

A highlight for the year was the launch of the Netcare Way, an internal values-driven programme that promotes five simple behaviours to guide our interactions with every person we come into contact with in our professional environment. The programme is manager led; over 330 middle managers and executives have undergone training as facilitators of this initiative.

Employee distribution

Employee numbers have declined marginally by 1.1% to 20 666. Staff turnover increased from 14.7% to 17.3%, largely attributable to the introduction of a new acuity model in Netcare 911 and efficiencies in the Primary Care division.

Employee1 turnover

  2011   2010  
Permanent employees at the beginning of the year   20 887   20 518  
Increased:   3 353   3 446  
– Appointments   3 353   3 446  
Decreased:   3 574   3 077  
– Resignations   3 013   2 481  
– Retirements   180   134  
– Dismissals   218   225  
– Deaths   52   60  
– Other   111   177  
Permanent employees at the end of the year 20 666   20 887  
Annual employee turnover (%) 17.3   14.7  
1 Employees include those in Hospital division, Emergency services, Primary Care and Head Office.

Employee profile by race at 30 September 2011   Employee profile at 30 September 2011   Employee gender profile at 30 September 2011
%   %   %
Employee profile by race at 30 September 2011   Employee profile at 30 September 2011   Employee gender profile at 30 September 2011

Employee attraction and retention

We continue to develop improved working models to address the chronic skills shortages of specialist nurses and pharmacists in SA. The shortage of pharmacists in particular will remain a challenge over the medium term.

Every month Netcare’s Carer of the Month programme recognises those employees who go above the call of duty in caring for our patients, which culminates in our gala event, Night of the Stars. Stories of our staff doing extraordinary deeds are submitted by their peers for consideration by an independent panel of judges, and divisional winners are announced at the event and are awarded one of four brand new cars.

NETrewards is Netcare’s reward and recognition programme developed to recognise non-management staff for living the Netcare values. The programme consists of two modules: Living the Values and the Customer Satisfaction Index. It is aimed at encouraging our staff to perform to the highest standards and provide our patients with excellent care and service.

Equal opportunity

We have maintained our levels of African, Coloured and Indian (ACI) and gender representation across most levels of the organisation and are pleased to note an increase in the number of employees with disabilities from 137 to 241. This improvement resulted from an awareness campaign at operational level and concerted efforts to identify and work with recruitment agencies that focus on securing employment for people with disabilities.

We will continue with our current initiatives aimed at ensuring that our employee profile becomes more demographically representative.

Training and development

Training and development remains key to the sustainability of our business. We are committed to facilitating training opportunities that grow the broader skills base within SA and this year demand increased greatly from outside the business.

The planned training spend for the skills year 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, as per the Workplace Skills Plan submitted to the Department of Labour, was R34 million. Netcare exceeded this amount with actual spend totalling R40 million for 14 217 training interventions. Included in this was a year-on-year increase of 14.9% for the period ended 31 March 2011 in average spend on ACI staff, and an 18.4% increase in spend on A (unskilled), B (semi-skilled) and C (skilled/technical) band employees.

A total of 1 528 nursing graduates qualified between 2010 and early 2011. The average number of students registered at Netcare Education on various Nursing and Tech programmes between October 2010 and September 2011 dropped slightly to 3 186 from 3 231 in the previous year.

Putting partnership into action, 100 trainees are attending Netcare Education nursing programmes in partnership with the Free State Department of Health. Netcare is sponsoring the tuition fees for these future graduates, who will be allocated to Netcare hospitals for practical experience.

The number of Netcare employees who successfully completed various management development programmes was 210.

The number of paramedics trained during the year was 506 (2010: 512).

Employee wellness

All staff members and their families have access to the full range of support and counselling services provided by an external service provider. Individual utilisation figures are slightly down on last year (17.9% in 2011 compared to 20% in 2011). However, there has been an increase in group-focused interventions (2.5% in 2011 compared to 1.5% in 2010). These interventions are sessions conducted at the request of management to provide support to small groups of staff members predominantly in cases of the loss of a colleague through trauma or illness.

General financial support and counselling are available to staff to assist with personal budgeting and monetary planning, in light of current economic conditions.

During our annual employee wellness drive, 70 Netcare sites across 53 locations encouraged staff to check their glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and HIV status. Overall, 7 153 HIV tests were conducted through voluntary counselling and testing services, reflecting an HIV prevalence of below 4%. In total, 43% of Netcare employees in SA participated in the wellness days.

Employee relations and engagement

Salary negotiations relating to the annual increase effective in March were amicably concluded and we continued to help alleviate the wage gap in SA by implementing salary increases that ranged from 5% to 6% for executives and managers, 7% for middle managers and 7.85% for other staff. We increased minimum salary levels by 9% and adjusted these minimums further at the end of the financial year to effect an overall increase in minimum salary of 15.4%.

We conducted a more targeted and detailed employee engagement survey in 2011, which will allow us to gain deeper insight into the opinions, feelings and beliefs of our staff about Netcare. This will help us improve interactions with our staff, to continually improve the work environment and staff communication. The survey’s response rate of 79.1% speaks to a healthy level of participation by our staff. The results will be processed at the end of the calendar year and will inform interventions during 2012 to further improve levels of staff engagement.

Union membership

  2011   2010
DENOSA 2 107   2 349
HOSPERSA 4 043   3 901
NEHAWU 3 335   2 988
SOLIDARITY 900   846
Other 31   15
Non-unionised 10 250   10 788
  20 666   20 887

Occupational health and safety

The health and safety of our staff remains a priority for Netcare. It plays an important role in attracting and retaining a talented, productive workforce as well as in ensuring uninterrupted care for the people we serve. We continue to evaluate occupational healthcare risks and have embedded safe work practices into procedures and implemented specific preventive programmes across Netcare. Regular in-service education is provided on safety topics including fire safety and evacuation, ergonomics and sharps control. Personal protective equipment is made available as required to all employees, and training is given on hazardous biological and chemical agents.

Policies and an integrated system of committees and reporting forums ensure that employee health and safety is well-managed. The managing directors of each division hold overall responsibility for managing occupational health and safety risks. They are supported at the centre by the Quality Leadership department and, at unit level, general managers coordinate activities within their areas.

The existing terms of reference for the health and safety committees are now integrated into the National Quality Leadership Council and reviewed by the Quality Leadership Board subcommittee. They include the following:

  • Investigate, develop and implement measures designed to ensure workplace health and safety;
  • Monitor compliance with occupational health and safety legislation, regulations and codes of practice;
  • Formulate, review and disseminate policies and procedures relating to health and safety, which are to be carried out or complied with in the workplace;
  • Monitor occupational health and safety incident statistics and specific reports as necessary;
  • Provide risk assessments of major safety hazards and develop appropriate mitigation of exposure to risks; and
  • Ensure readiness for fire and allied peril exposures.

Best practice disaster recovery and business resumption procedures are in place to ensure that the appropriate action can be initiated if necessary.

Absenteeism and sick leave

Absenteeism rates have remained at 2.7% and sick leave hours in SA have decreased by 7.4%. Research indicates that we are slightly below the SA average of absenteeism which is identified as 2.8% (CRF Best Company to Work For report).

Medical aid membership

Medical Aid membership has remained static at 76.7% (2010: 77.3%).

Looking ahead

  • Further embed the Netcare Way.
  • Implement focused interventions aimed at strengthening the ability of middle and senior management to consistently demonstrate the principles of service leadership.
  • Continue to invest in effective activities to engage and consult with staff.
  • A tailored Leadership Development Programme will be introduced in 2012.