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Nurses distraught with ministry handling of MCMH incident

Nurses distraught with ministry handling of MCMH incident
Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH)

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Several nurses are said to be distraught about the response of the Ministry of Health to an incident which took place at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) last week and are considering how best to protest.
An investigation was ordered last Wednesday, after a nurse appeared not to respond appropriately to a woman lying on the floor at Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).

The public became aware of what happened after a video recording of the incident went viral on social media. The Ministry of Health condemned what appeared to have taken place and said the nurse, a ward manager, had been referred to the Public Service Commission and the General Nursing Council for review.

Last Saturday, SEARCHLIGHT was contacted by a woman claiming to be a nurse, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity. She said the nurse involved was at the A&E only because she had influenza and was awaiting documents relating to her sick leave.

She said the nurse was not on duty and not fit to respond to the woman who was on the floor and only investigated what was happening because of her nursing instincts.

According to the person who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, she and her colleagues are also upset over the way the media has been dealing with the situation. She claimed that no proper investigation was done by the Ministry of Health before a release was issued, and alleged that the woman who was lying on the floor read the reports in the media and was surprised by what was reported.

The woman who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT said several nurses are considering how best to protest the Ministry’s decision to issue the press releases. She said they feel the nurse was not given a proper opportunity to defend herself.

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday, May 15, acknowledged the video and described its contents as “deeply disturbing”.

“The Ministry expects a responsive and caring attitude to always be displayed to all persons who go to a health facility for services. The Ministry sincerely regrets this disturbing incident – it is entirely unacceptable.”

According to the release, on May 15, Minister of Health Luke Browne and Permanent Secretary Cuthbert Knights discussed the contents of the video with relevant staff and requested urgent reports. The release said the reports would be forwarded to the Service Commissions Department and will form the basis of any further action, if necessary.

“A thorough investigation has been ordered to ascertain the full facts,” the May 15 release said.

Then on May 16, the Ministry in another release said the nurse had been referred to the Public Service Commission and the General Nursing Council for review.

“[The woman who was lying on the floor] and her daughter are very disturbed about what is circulating. She didn’t fall, she eased unto the floor which is common sense to save being injured,” said the person who spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, who added that nurses are awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

She said while she was not at the A&E when the incident happened, she understands that the woman in the video was never in any danger of dying because of her ailment.

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