Gov't cannot match salary offered to migrating nurses, but working to address shortage
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says his ministry is moving to address the shortage created by the yearly migration of Jamaican nurses.
Tufton says he is aware of the burden that migration places on the health sector and Jamaica may have to turn to other countries to supply the local demand for nurses.
Yesterday president of the NAJ, Janet Farr said the migration of nurses is a threat to the local health sector and called on the government to do more to retain locally trained nurses.
However, Tufton says there is very little the government can do to stop the nurses from leaving, especially since the government cannot match the salary packages offered by other countries.
Tufton also said recruitment agencies make it difficult to retain nurses as they offer to pay the debt for specialist nurses who are bonded to Jamaica after completing their studies.
Meanwhile, the health ministry says it is expecting 47 health care workers including doctors, dentists and specialist nurses to arrive in the Island in the coming weeks.
It says the first batch of 20 is scheduled to arrive on March 21.
Tufton is also to continue meeting with key stakeholders this week including the Nurses Association of Jamaica, the Nursing Council, the Cuban Ambassador and the Indian High Commissioner to continue talks regarding the shortage.
In 2014, some 200 specialist nurses migrated to other countries or resigned from the public sector to work in the private sector.
The NAJ president says this has increased the workload of the nurses in the public health sector.