Press briefing with Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic – Dec. 20th, 2021. (PMO)

Following discussions with the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA) and the Ministry of Public Service (MPS), the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be establishing three committees to focus on communications, efficiency, and salaries and hazard and over-time pay.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic, made the disclosure during a press conference held this evening at Ilaro Court.

The Minister noted that communication between the Ministry and the BNA had been one of the major “vexing” issues and one “we really needed to work on and we’ve been trying to do so”.

He acknowledged that some of the issues being raised, included those by Unity Workers Union, were either actioned, or in the process of being actioned, but as a result of lack of communication, the information did not filter down.

“So, we would have to address this issue in a more formal way and some committees will be established to be able to ensure that things are communicated down the line to the nurses, and this is very important. And we hope to do so first of all by ensuring that the hospital managers and directors in the QEH; the Psychiatric Hospital; the Geriatric Hospital, that they meet, at least quarterly, to be able to discuss matters and to ensure that they’re all on the same sheet of music,” Minister Bostic stated.

In addition, he shared that a decision was made to have the Chief Public Health Nurse and the Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness meet with the Director of Nursing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on a regular basis to ensure that all issues relating to nurses could be resolved in a timely fashion.

Regarding the establishment of an Efficiencies Committee, the Health Minister revealed that there were a number of matters raised in relation to efficiencies within the service, and the Ministry had been directed to establish an Efficiency Committee by the end of the year.

Minister Bostic stated: “This committee will have responsibility for the procurement of supplies, systems and equipment across the health care sector, and this is to determine who will be best suited to carry out the functions of a 21st century health care system.  So, these things we are going to put in place and there’ll be some protocols to ensure that we monitor, we follow and we execute in this regard.”

With respect to the issue of sporadic payments in the public service, the Health Minister pointed out that this matter would be addressed not only with regard to nurses but across the entire public service, with the establishment of a committee.

“The structure of this committee will comprise the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness; the Director General of the Public Service; a member of the Barbados Nursing Association; the secretary, and we will also include some other persons to represent some other entities as well,” Minister Bostic said.

He added that the establishment of these committees would be very important in addressing the major issues brought forward by the Barbados Nurses Association and “will go a long way to ensure that a lot of the problems that the nurses have been experiencing that we will be able to resolve”.

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