Hospital reform and staff morale in South Africa : a case study of Dr Yusuf Dadoo hospital

26 Jun 2013

OBJECTIVES: This study explored major factors that influenced staff motivation at a district hospital in South Africa following hospital reforms and comparison of these factors across the two main staff categories. DESIGN: This study was a cross-sectional descriptive survey. SETTINGS AND SUBJECTS: This study included all medical and nursing staff working at the district hospital. OUTCOME MEASURES: A semi-structured questionnaire coded for anonymity was used. It comprised three sections: the introduction, demographic information and a list of factors to which participants responded by indicating their level of agreement or disagreement using the Likert’s scale. The questionnaire’s reliability was confirmed using Cronbach’s coefficient alpha with a value of 0.9. RESULTS: Of the 179 participants, 122 returned the questionnaires. This equated to a response rate of 68%. The staff expressed more demotivation than motivation. Major factors that played a role were institutional in character, namely poor management and leadership, unfavourable institutional policies and administration practices with regard to staff development, conflictual inter- and intraprofessional relationships, a paucity of equipment and retention and recruitment strategies. The unique motivator was the individual value of the vocational aspect of the profession. Distance travelled to the workplace did not have any association with the identified motivating and demotivating factors. CONCLUSION: Staff motivation is crucial in any institution or organisation. Presently, the South African healthcare sector is undergoing transformation in terms of implementation of National Health Insurance. The effectiveness of the healthcare system in achieving its goals will be impacted by the prioritisation of institutional strategies that contribute to staff motivation. Managers’ skills in healthcare facilities are critical to the success of the implementation of reforms in South Africa.