Steps Being Taken to Address Shortage of Nurses

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Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton says the Ministry is aware and is taking steps to ease the current shortage of specialist nurses in public health sector. The renewed concern comes in light of a local recruitment drive for specialist nurses for overseas employment.

Dr. Tufton points out that this happens from time to time as Jamaican nurses, particularly specialist trained nurses, are in high demand due to their excellent training and capacity.

“Our nurses have been sought after for recruitment by many countries resulting in a constant need for training and recruitment for our facilities. This is why I have been meeting with key stakeholders at the Ministry of Health and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and we have already set in train strategies to ease this shortage,” Dr. Tufton said.

‎The Minister has instructed that the parallel training programme of the Ministry of Health for specialist nurses be expanded and extended beyond its intended closure date of 2016 to augment those who will be trained by the University of Technology (UTech).

‎The UHWI will also be expanding its intake to facilitate increased availability.

‎Dr. Tufton said that the remuneration offered by the developed countries cannot be matched at this time though there are several incentives in place for nurses. He says it is difficult to keep all we train and so the Ministry is also exploring options for recruitment abroad from countries such as Cuba and India.

The Ministry is expecting forty seven (47) health care workers including doctors, dentists and specialist nurses to arrive in the Island in the coming weeks starting with the first batch of twenty (20)  scheduled to arrive on Monday March 21, 2016.

‎Dr. Tufton will also continue to meet with key stakeholders this week to include the Nurses Association of Jamaica, the Nursing Council, the Cuban Ambassador and the Indian High Commissioner to continue talks in this area.

‎The Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authorities will continue to take all the necessary steps to make sure that those who remain are well treated and efficiently utilized to ensure the greatest benefit to our patients.