Hundreds of posts created for specialist nurses
The Government is rushing to ease the haemorrhaging of specialist nurses from Jamaica's public-health sector to the proverbial greener pastures in other jurisdictions by approving 300 additional posts for these skilled personnel.
With no security of tenure for many nurses who are employed on a contractual basis in the public-health sector, the number of specialist nurses migrating to the United States and Canada, among other countries, has risen sharply in recent times.
In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that discussions were held with the finance ministry and a Cabinet submission was made to increase the cadre of nurses.
Tufton said that he was grateful for the Cuban nurses that have filled a void, "which otherwise would not have been filled and patients would die not having that care. We make no apologies for that".
Jamaica has taken steps to collaborate with other jurisdictions to increase training opportunities for nurses in Jamaica, Tufton said.
He said that Jamaica and the United Kingdom were engaged in dialogue with a view to providing training for specialist nurses.
"What it would mean is that we train sometimes here; we go to the UK for additional time, primarily on the clinical side because the UK has the hospitals; and at the end of that process, we both benefit from the value that is created by that trained nurse, in that they can work in both locations," he added.
While being cautious about a formal announcement at this time, Tufton said that in another two to three months, the Government would have a position that would be likely to see the expansion of training for critical-care nurses.