Nurses protest worsens, hospitals sending home patients
Patients who are well enough to be discharged have been sent home by hospitals which have been hit hard by the protest action of public sector nurses.
Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) president, Janet Farr, says some hospitals took the decision as increasing numbers of nurses stayed away from the job as the day progressed.
Farr says four out of 10 nurses rostered for duty turned up for work at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas.
Farr says no nurses showed up for the afternoon shift at the Kingston Public Hospital.
She says 90 per cent of the nurses scheduled to work this afternoon at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew did not turn up for work.
Farr said it was a similar situation at other hospitals across the country.
The NAJ president says nurses who have been working on the morning shift have been taking up the slack left by the protesting nurses.
Meanwhile, she says the industrial action is expected to continue tomorrow.
Earlier today, the Ministry of Health indicated that it has activated its emergency protocols in response to high levels of absenteeism by registered nurses in the public sector.
The health ministry said its Emergency Operations Centre will ensure the ongoing monitoring of attendance of nurses and the impact on service delivery, provide guidance to the Regional Health Authorities and determine the nature of the intervention that may be required.
Ferguson further said the centre will re-deploy staff, if the need arises, and periodically advise the public of measures being taken.
The protest action by public sector nurses was prompted by what the NAJ says is the government’s protracted delay in paying retroactive money from the reclassification of the public health sector.
The NAJ says the money has been outstanding since 2013.