Unit Managers’ Perceptions of Implementation of National Core Standards in Tertiary Hospitals
Globally, all healthcare systems face challenges in improving the quality of healthcare services delivery. In South Africa, the National Department of Health introduced the National Core Standards (NCS) tool in 2011 as affirmation of what is predicted to deliver decent, safe and high-quality care in healthcare establishments. The study presented in this paper aimed to determine unit managers’ perceptions of the implementation of the NCS in tertiary hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This was a cross-sectional, descriptive survey. A purposive sampling technique was used to select hospitals offering secondary and tertiary services in KwaZulu-Natal. A census method was used to recruit all unit managers in the study. A census method is an attempt to list all elements or to use every unit in a group and to measure one or more characteristics of those elements. Out of the 169 population of unit managers counted in these hospitals, only 95 participated in the study. The collected data were analysed using SPSS Statistics version 25. The study showed that the participants’ perceptions were positive about the availability of material resources. However, a shortage of human resources in terms of numbers, skills, and skills mix was noted. The results also revealed that the participants’ perceptions of the availability of a positive working environment were negative. This study recommends that the healthcare authorities develop a strategic approach to manage scarce human resources by attracting, sourcing, selecting, training, developing, and retaining healthcare workers. This includes creating a positive working environment to promote staff retention.