Guyana recruiting Cuban nurses to deal with shortage
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Guyana on Friday said it will seek to recruit 200 nurses from Cuba next year as the country moves to deal with a shortage of locally trained nurses .
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, speaking at an end of year news conference, told reporters that 80 Cuban nurses had been recruited this year to help ease the shortage and that the ministry will next year try to recruit more while simultaneously reducing the workload of nurses in the system.
“As you know, we have a problem with attrition of nurses,” Dr Anthony said, noting however that several solutions are being pursued, including recruiting 200 nurses from Cuba, who should be in Guyana early 2024.
“In the past we weren’t bringing a lot of nurses [from Cuba], we were bringing more doctors but now we have asked the Cuban government for more nurses,” Dr Anthony told reporters.
The health authorities said that a three-month crash course is being done to help Spanish-speaking nurses from Cuba integrate better locally.
On Thursday, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), said the hospital has an overall deficit of about 600 nurses for optimum patient care with GPHC’s chief executive officer Robbie Rambarran saying that an estimated 107 nurses resigned in 2022.
Dr Anthony said efforts are underway to help reduce the workload of nurses, noting that many nurses are involved in non-clinical duties including simple tasks of taking items from one place to another.
The Health Minister said that the ministry is willing to hire personnel to get non-clinical work done so the nurses can focus on their clinical duties.
Dr Anthony said an estimated 4000 nurses are needed in the coming years as the government builds new hospitals and facilities across the country and the authorities increase salaries, as well as expand training programmes.
Dr Anthony said 1,100 people are currently undergoing nursing training and next year, the health authorities say they hope to recruit another 1,000 to 1,200 people for training.
“There is no way out of this except to train people and bring them into the system,” Dr Anthony told reporters.