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Minister, PS respond to nurses’ complaints

Minister, PS respond to nurses’ complaints
PERMANENT SECRETARY in the Ministry of Health Cuthbert Knights

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NURSES ATTACHED TO the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) have listed several complaints, among them, repeated thefts from intruders, uneven floors on at least one ward, and extended working hours.

Other complaints include inadequate parking for hospital staff and the occasional lack of basic items needed to perform day to day activities.

A nurse, speaking on the condition of anonymity told SEARCHLIGHT that when working at nights, some nurses do not feel safe, as intruders have at times gone onto the compound and stolen their personal belongings.

The nurse added that thefts are easy, as the security at the facility is inadequate and the doors on the wards are not very secure.

The nurse also noted that there are “potholes” on the floors of one of the wards that creates issues for healthcare personnel; and they were recently told that their days off has been moved back to one day per week instead of two.

Back in February, nurses had complained that a lot of things were wrong at the facility and they were frustrated and fed up. They had stressed that a lot of nurses are burnt out and while they get two days off, one of the days, they are still on call.

Addressing the above mentioned issues on Monday was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Cuthbert Knights and Minister of Health St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince.

PS Knights said nurses do not have to worry as the two days off remain the same.

“The shift for the nurses has not been changed.

“We operate in the best interest of our nurses and for all our health care workers. We want the best for our nurses, the best schedule for them and the best working conditions and that is what we are doing,” Knights said.

“Categorically, we will not implement or make any changes to their shift or schedule for the nurses that are going to disadvantage them,” Knights added.

Knights said that nurses are doing a “superb job” in terms of responding to the COVID19 situation and managing and caring for persons who maybe COVID19 positive or recovering from the COVID19 virus so management is sensitive to the needs of the nurses.

“We have come up with a shift that the nurses are quite comfortable with and that will not change, but we are refining

it to see if we can enhance it,” he stressed.

In relation to the floors, Knights said they are making preparations to have the floors repaired in terms of having hospital grade carpeting.

“Money has been already placed in the estimates this year to take care of the floors of the hospital.

“Not only the floors but also the hospital itself,” Knights explained.

He said there is a capital project in the estimates which will address the refurbishing of the hospital, fixing many areas that have been identified.

“We know the floors need to be addressed so that is why money was placed in the budget and we will be doing that very soon,” he added.

In relation to the stealing, Knights said he has not seen a report on the most recent thefts but, stealing at the hospital has been an age old issue.

“That is why we have the security firm there and it is for the security firm to do its job. I know the administrator of the hospital has had several meetings, but as I said, it is for the firm to do its job.

“I do not want a situation where persons are coming into the hospital and depriving persons of whatever they have and this is something that we are going to seriously look into to,” the PS said.

He added also that the MCMH will never be able to provide parking for all staff but the issue of parking will be looked at so that nurses could feel safe while going to and from work.

Health minister Prince in commenting said a lot of misinformation and “downright lies” are at times told about the MCMH.

He stressed that the rumor that medical personnel do not have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is “mischief”” and they have always ensured that all workers are appropriately attired for the job.

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