Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Tufton: More training and permanent post for nurses

Published:Monday | July 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has announced that the Government will double the opportunities for training critical-care nurses as part of his ministry's strategy of addressing their shortage in the health sector, this as the issue of critical-care nurses being poached by deep-pocket countries continues to frustrate efforts at improving the healthcare system.

"Nurses are a big part of our focus this year. A month or so ago, we sent the first batch of 18 nurses and five tutors to China to do clinical rotation as part of boosting the capacity for critical care nurses in Jamaica.

"We will, during the course of this year, send the second batch to the UK (United Kingdom) to Leeds Teaching Hospital as part of their clinical rotation for five months," Tufton told nurses at their annual awards banquet held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Saturday.

The health minister also disclosed that the University of the West Indies will roll out an additional programme for registered nurses.

"[It] will see them moving their cohort from 150 nurses to 300 nurses, a 100 per cent expansion at the level of RN by the University of the West Indies," Tufton said, labelling the developments as significant for the health sector.

He mentioned that nurses are sometimes asked to do four times the work they should be doing because of personnel shortage.

In the meantime, Tufton also announced that the Government would be creating an additional 500 permanent post for nurses.

In the first instance, though, 300 posts will be created, with the remainder to be confirmed at a later date, which the minister did not disclose.

According to Tufton, these new posts will give nurses the security of tenure "that they deserve".

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com