Wednesday 21 March, 2018

NURSES’ STRIKE: Health Ministry moves to shore up hospital services

A typical protest among nursing staff at a health facility.

A typical protest among nursing staff at a health facility.

The Ministry of Health says it has moved to put measures in place to ensure that public healthcare provision continues island-wide amid the ongoing industrial action by nurses in the public sector.

In a release late on Thursday, the ministry said it is coordinating with the regional health authorities to manage health coverage at the affected health facilities.

The ministry said 77 per cent of registered nurses who were slated to report to work for the morning shift on Thursday, were present at their respective duty stations in hospitals island-wide. However, there was noticeably, no similarly clear outline of the levels of absence among most other categories of nurses in the release.

The ministry said in terms of the overall impact of the industrial action on the regions, the North East Regional Health Authority had 41 per cent attendance, with the Western Regional Health Authority at 57 per cent, the Southern Regional Health Authority at 62 per cent, and the South East Regional Health Authority at 71 per cent.

The ministry said there was no reported absence among nurses at the primary healthcare level as a result of the industrial action by nurses.

The ministry said the hospitals most affected will only provide emergency services, meaning that those facilities will not be conducting elective surgeries, due to the reduced nursing staff complements.

“We are assessing the situation to coordinate the most effective response and ensure that services and coverage continue despite reduced staffing,” said Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton.