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Shortage of nurses crippling health sector in Clarendon

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels
Scarlett
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Medical Officer of Health for Clarendon, Dr Kimberly Scarlett Campbell, says the Clarendon Health Department is severely impacted by a shortage of nurses affecting the health sector generally.

The inadequate number of specialist nurses has been the subject of intense public debate recently and the matter came up for discussion at the first sitting of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation last Thursday.

Councillor for the Mineral Heights division, Milton Brown, raised the issue and asked whether the parish had been affected. In response, Scarlett Campbell said, "We, too, are feeling the pinch of the shortage of nurses in the parish of Clarendon."

 

PRESSURE ON NURSES

 

She explained that its impact in the parish is such that the public-health specialist nurses have had to be redeployed

"We have an acute shortage of newly trained nurses, and what has been happening is that all public-health nurses have to be filling that slot and, as such, they are working as staff nurses who are single-trained nurses. So some of their core functions have to be put aside and they have to be manning curative clinics," she told councillors.

She lamented that nurses had to be driving from May Pen to as far as Kellits or Crofts Hill to work at those facilities doing several jobs at one time.

"We are hoping that the NAJ (Nurses Association of Jamaica) negotiate something with the Government soon so that we can retain our nurses."

Brown also enquired if there was a shortage of bed space in the parish caused by persons who were fit to go home but are living at the hospital, but Scarlett Campbell said that there has been a longstanding issue at the May Pen Hospital with overcrowding.

"We have some social cases, but I don't think those cases are that much of an issue in comparison to the overcrowding that is taking place on the wards from persons who have non-communicable diseases," she said.