Minister of Health, Dr. David Estwick

While the health care system can boast of having a lot of nursing assistants there is a need for more registered nurses in institutions.

This was stated today by Minister of Health, Dr. David Estwick following remarks delivered at a meeting to discuss the framework for Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH III) at the Barbados Beach Club.

Minister Estwick in making the call said: “I would want to see a greater increase in health aides functioning within the Geriatric hospitals as well as the polyclinics and the QEH and also an increase in registered nurses.”

And, he urged nurses, who had rejected the offer to work with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Board, to return to the health care system.

He said: “I have said, on a number of occasions that I would want to see those nurses who did not sign on with the Board, who are qualified registered nurses and those nurses who are in specialty areas that they can feel quite free to apply back into the health care system, back at the QEH and once there is opportunity for the reintegration of them within the system I would more than welcome them back into the system.”

Dr. Estwick explained that this was linked to a basic principle; “that we educated them and therefore we have a responsibility to provide an opportunity for them to be reintegrated.”
While disclosing that some nurses had been working “half-day this place and half-day the next place”, the Health Minister added: “but some of them have not come back into work.”

`Despite the shortfall in nursing, there has been some success in specialty areas, such as ophthalmology and with the amendments made recently to the Nurses Act, the Health Ministry is expected to see an increase in the complement of nurses, in the future.  The regulations associated with the Nurses Act underwent significant changes, a few months ago, with the age of entry into nursing moving from 18 to 16 years, paving the way for more young persons to develop an interest in the profession. (JG)

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