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Jamaica Looking to Partner with UK for Training of Specialist Nurses

Christopher Tufton speaking about training specialist nurses

Photo: Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, speaking in the House of Representatives. (FILE)

The Ministry of Health is looking to partner with the United Kingdom (UK) Government for the training of the island’s specialist nurses.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, during his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 3).

The Health Minister noted that discussions are under way and an announcement will be made within the next two to three months on the progress of the talks.

“What it would mean is that we train (nurses) for some time here. They go to the UK for some additional time, primarily on the clinical side, because the UK has the hospitals, and at the end of that process, we both benefit from the value that is created by that trained nurse, in that they can work in both locations,” he explained.

Dr. Tufton noted that Jamaica has been doing well in the training of healthcare professionals, but faces challenges in retaining these personnel.

He highlighted the fact that the country’s nurses are the most recruited internationally, resulting in challenges in service delivery, particularly in certain areas of specialisation.

Dr. Tufton noted that earlier this year, he raised the issue at an Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, and received support for his recommendation for countries to collaborate in the training and placement of specialist nurses.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton told the House that the Ministry is moving to improve the retention of specialist nurses by increasing the cadre of staff in the establishment.

“I’m happy to announce that the Cabinet has approved an immediate increase in the establishment of the cadre of specialist nurses by 300 posts,” Dr. Tufton said.

He pointed out that too many nurses are working on contract and, as a result, they do not have the security of tenure and benefits that permanent staff enjoy.

Article by: Latonya Linton
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