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Government committed to boosting nurse complement- Holness

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2021 | 2:05 PMJamaica Information Service
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (file photo).

Prime Minister,  Andrew Holness, says the government remains committed to taking steps to boost the complement of nurses in Jamaica’s public health system in order to address the shortage of personnel, due largely to attrition.

Holness said the measures will include continued pursuit of bilateral arrangements and bolstering the availability of training opportunities and resources for persons locally.

He was speaking recently during an ‘All Access with Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ interview series, being facilitated with senior journalists.

Holness noted that the government has a “very robust” nursing recruitment programme with Cuba, adding that personnel have also come from other countries, notably Nigeria.

“So, we will continue to explore and pursue the ability to use our bilateral relations to see if we can bring nurses here in the short-term,” he added.

Holness said efforts will also be made to encourage more Jamaicans, particularly young people, to enter the profession, while acknowledging that “it comes down to what is the local remuneration."

“Nursing remains a very rewarding [and] good profession to pursue and we encourage our young people to get into that. In my discussion with the Minister of Health, this is an area in which we will have to target to encourage more persons to get into,” he added.

Holness noted that the high quality of Jamaica’s training programme for nurses is well recognised locally and globally, making them attractive for recruitment, especially overseas.

He said while Jamaica has been a net producer of skilled labour, particularly nursing, which has proven beneficial to the country, “during a pandemic [like COVID-19], it could be a potential threat to the health system [if] our nurses are leaving."

“This is an area in which we will have to increase the training resources, so that we are able to meet our own demand and still continue to be a net exporter of nurses to the world,” Holness added.

The interview series, which is slated to run for 10 weeks, will see Holness engaging a representative from a media house each week in a 10-minute session, during which they will pose questions to him on matters relating to crime, the economy and COVID-19.

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