Health services holding up despite nurses' sick-out

Friday, November 24, 2017

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MINISTER of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said last night that his ministry has been assessing the situation in hospitals created by a sick-out of some registered nurses, which began yesterday.

The action is believed to be in response to the delay in the Government settling their wage claims, which are currently being negotiated. But there was no official response from the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) on the issue.

NAJ President Carmen Johnson was, however, reported in the media as confirming that there was industrial action by the members across the island in response to the delay in settling pay issues with the Government.

The ministry said that in response to the industrial action by the registered nurses, it has been putting measures in place to ensure that health care coverage continues with the least possible disruption.

“The ministry is therefore coordinating with the Regional Health Authorities to manage coverage at the affected facilities,” a release from the ministry said.

According to the ministry, 77 per cent of registered nurses slated to report to work for the morning shift were present at their respective duty stations in hospitals, islandwide. But the shortage seemed to have increased as the day progressed.

The ministry said that the hospitals most affected would only provide emergency services, which means that they would not be able to conduct elective surgeries due to the reduced nursing complement.

It was not clear whether the nurses plan to continue their industrial action into today.

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