Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, (at head of table) in discussion with members of the
Barbados Nurses Association and other Ministry officials. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Health Minister, Donville Inniss, yesterday met separately with representatives of two interests groups – the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) and the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA), in an effort to strengthen ties with these two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s).

While noting that he was aware of some of their concerns, Minister Inniss welcomed the opportunity to dialogue with the heads and executive of the two groups, pointing out that the Ministry exercised an "open door policy" and welcomed their views.

Representing some 25,000 members, BARP President, Ernest Batson and Vice President, Norma Roach, called for more stringent enforcement and policing of standards in nursing homes and appealed for a more holistic and preventative approach to health care for its constituents, as well as the general public.?? Mr. Batson also asked for the Ministry’s support in the development of a comprehensive retirement home and day care service.

Mr. Inniss gave the Association the assurance that the Ministry recognised the need for such facilities and promised whatever assistance it could offer.????

Meanwhile, the new executive of the BNA, led by its President, Blondelle Mullin, engaged the Minister and Ministry of Health nursing heads, including Chief Public Health Nurse, Claudette Casey, with regard to standards of nursing in Barbados, training, and the need for an improvement in the Nursing Council’s office facilities.

The Health Minister reassured the nurses that he was aware of many of the deficiencies within the system and was working with Ministry officials to address their needs.???? He, however, also took the opportunity to ask the Executive to police the occupation better so as to ensure a sense of professionalism.?? "We need to raise the bar and keep it there and perhaps this can be done through mentoring from retired and experienced nurses.?? At the same time, though, we also need to do more to ensure a minimum standard of behaviour for patients as well," he said.

In addition, continuing education for the profession and the nursing programme at the Barbados Community College were discussed, as the two groups agreed on the need for nurses in Barbados to be on the "cutting edge" of technology and in so doing be more efficient in carrying out their duties.??

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