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Nurses protest for a second day, hospitals still in emergency mode

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 12:56 PM

Hospitals across the country continue to operate in emergency mode as public sector nurses have stayed off the job for a second day.

Information reaching our news centre is that protest action could go into a third day.

The Ministry of Labour has called an emergency conciliation meeting with the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) and the ministries of health and Finance for 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Meanwhile, president of the NAJ, Janet Farr, says nurses remain upset about the non-payment of monies owed to them and many have not turned up for work.

Farr says the situation has further worsened at some hospitals since yesterday as more nurses have stayed off the job.


NAJ President, Janet Farr

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.

However, Farr says the association is going to this afternoon's meeting at the labour ministry with an open-mind.


NAJ President, Janet Farr

Our news centre tried to get an update from the Ministry of Health on the level of absenteeism now affecting hospitals, but was unsuccessful as calls to key communication personnel went unanswered.

Yesterday, the South East Regional Health Authority advised that only emergency cases would be accommodated at the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals and Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.

It is a similar situation at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas and the Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.

The Western Regional Health Authority also said the sick out by nurses is also affecting operations at hospitals in that Region.