The Ministry of Health announced today that Cuban nurses are to assist in dialysis treatment at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre.
Last week, nurses embarked on a “go slow” to bring attention to the strain placed on the few nurses who work in the unit.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association Karen Josiah accused health authorities of trivializing the issue of the shortage of dialysis nurses.
In a statement issued today, the Ministry said it is closely monitoring the situation to ensure that the appropriate number of nurses are recruited to increase the dialysis nursing staff at Mount St. John’s.
“Indeed, Ms. Josiah’s insinuation that the Ministry has been tardy in addressing the nursing shortage at the dialysis unit is unfortunately based on a lack of information that is readily available from the Ministry, and in particular from the Principal Nursing Officer Margaret Smith,” the statement said.
The association claimed that even if Cuban nurses were to arrive this week, they would still have to be registered and processed by the Nursing Council.
“The fact is, six of the seven Cuban nurses, who will soon be assigned to the dialysis unit, have already been registered to work in Antigua and Barbuda. This process was completed while the nurses were still in Cuba. Two of the nurses arrived in the country over the weekend and the others will soon follow. The seventh nurse will be registered in a matter of days,” the ministry said in response.
Meanwhile, the Principal Nursing Officer has been in constant contact with officials at Mount St. John’s and in the dialysis unit to ensure that the highest quality of care given to the patients is maintained until the additional staff arrives.
“I have been communicating on how best the situation can be managed. The patients and their needs have been assessed and those who can manage with two dialysis sessions per week will have two, while others who need three sessions will have the required three sessions,” says the Principal Nursing Officer. “They have all been carefully assessed and the priority is to maintain quality care to all dialysis patients, “she added.
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