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Nurses ordered back to work immediately

Published:Thursday | March 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

Minister of Labour and Social Security Pearnel Charles has secured a 14-day injunction from the Supreme Court of Jamaica to prevent further industrial action by the island's nurses.

A release from the ministry yesterday stated that the nurses had been urged to return to work with immediate effect, in compliance with the order of the court.

This follows the disruption of the daily operations at some hospitals as the facilities continued to experience a high level of absenteeism by the registered nurses.

Yesterday, registered nurses called in sick and stayed off the job for a second day at all four hospitals across western Jamaica.

Regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Everton Anderson, confirmed with
The Gleaner
that an average of 43 per cent of nurses were absent from work.

Nurses across the island have reportedly been carrying out a three-day sickout.

The National Chest, Mandeville Regional and Lionel Town hospitals have cancelled elective surgeries and discharged non-critical patients.

Other health-care facilities affected

Other affected facilities were Kingston Public, Bustamante, May Pen, Lionel Town, Annotto Bay, Port Maria and Falmouth hospitals, as well as Mandeville Comprehensive Clinic and Newport Health Centre.

The Ministry of Health, in a release yesterday, said steps have been taken to ensure that critical operations are not adversely affected. It stated that the senior nursing staff at the affected public hospitals are manning the critical areas of operation.

Since last month, the nurses have been protesting Government's delay in satisfying an Industrial Disputes Tribunal ruling that it implement a reclassification exercise.