Review the conditions of service offered to local nurses, says CTUSAB
General Secretary Dennis De Peiza
Months after the government announced it was looking to take its nurses' recruitment drive to the West African nation of Ghana, there is support for the move coming from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).
However, General Secretary Dennis De Peiza is urging authorities to not only spare no effort “exploring and providing the opportunity for the employment of nurses from within CARICOM region” especially in areas of specialist needs but also review and update the terms of service for local nurses.
“CTUSAB, therefore, supports the government’s plan to recruit nurses from Ghana, which is [to] address the shortage of critical care nurses required at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This support remains contingent upon the fact that those recruited, must meet the required standards as approved by the Barbados Nursing Council. Mindful of the global competition which drives international recruiters to our shores to attract both graduate and critical care nurses, CTUSAB is not oblivious to the fact that some local nurses will be attracted by the salary and benefits offered.
“As government’s moves to ensure the quality of care to be provided, the efficiency of service at the QEH and to offer a 24 hours operation at two of the island’s polyclinics, CTUSAB believes that the time is right for a review of the conditions of service offered to local nurses to be undertaken, so as to make employment in Barbados attractive enough, in an effort to retard an eliminate any threat of the exodus of local nurses,” he said in a statement.
The trade unionist said it was the CTUSAB’s position that the current shortage of nurses graduating from the Barbados Community College, was impacting on the effective functioning of the island’s health care system.
De Peiza also stated this shortage of qualified nurses was causing some strain on the operations and the delivery of health care delivery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“The situation at the island’s premier institution is further compounded by the shortage of specialist and critical care nurses. CTUSAB has been made aware that the current shortage of critical nurses has constrained the operations of five theatres at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“Whilst labour supports the fact that Barbadians and regional nurses must be given priority in any recruitment and employment by the hospital, it understandable that given the global shortage of nurses which is being experienced, there is need to recruit from abroad,” he added.
When the Ghanaian president Nano Akufo-Addo held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Mia Mottley at Ilaro Court in June, she announced that before the end of government’s financial year, close to 400 nurses from the West African state of Ghana could be working in a number of government medical facilities, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Speaking to reporters, during a joint press briefing the Ghanaian president suggested work on a solution to the island’s nursing headache would have been ongoing. Plans were later announced for a fact-finding mission to visit Accra in the coming months to start the process.