Public health sector lost 200 nurses last year — NAJ

Monday, July 20, 2015

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JAMAICA'S public health system took a blow last year with the migration or resignation of 200 specialist nurses.

"In 2014, 200 specialist nurses migrated to other countries or resigned from the public sector to work in the private sector," said Janet Coore-Farr, president of the Nurses' Association of Jamaica (NAJ).

Coore-Farr made the announcement during Sunday's service at Eastwood Park New Testament Church in Kingston to mark the start of Nurses' Week.

She said the "extreme shortage" of nurses in the public health care system has contributed to an increase in workload.

That is certain to bring with it stresses to the individual nurses, which could affect patient care. Jamaicans have long complained about harsh treatment out by nurses in public health care facilities.

On the other hand, Coore-Farr said that the NAJ would focus on filling he gap with nurses who are trained but currently unemployed.

Dr Andrei Cooke, chairman of the South Eastern Regional Health Authority, told attendees to the service that nurses are the backbone of health care in Jamaica.

"Since the beginning of time, the nursing profession has been one of much honour and importance to Jamaica, as to the world," Cooke said, and lauded the nurses "for their service across Jamaica".

Shirley Hibbert, deputy chief nursing officer in the Ministry of Health, who delivered greetings behalf of Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, lauded the work nurses were doing in Jamaica, adding that they are the cornerstone of the health sector.

She said that nurses remained committed to delivering effective health care "despite the challenges".

-- Racquel Porter

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