Basseterre, St.Kitts (November 30th 2016):- Ag. Prime Minister Hon. Shawn K. Richards has shed light on the issue regarding the recruitment of nurses from the Phillipines by the Ministry of Health.
Over the last week the issue was raised by surrogates of the Opposition claiming that Nurses were being recruited and paid more than local nurses. This caused alarm and created a furor on both the social and traditional media. Ag. Prime Minister Richards called in to WINN FM’s Voices and cleared the air on the matter and debunked all of what was being peddled by the Opposition sympathizers and surrogates.
Ag. PM Richards declared “The nurses that are being hired provide a particular specialist skill set which is currently lacking among the local nursing fraternity in St. Kitts and Nevis; in areas such as oncology(Cancer Care), hemodialysis, intensive care, and mental health. For example my information is that at this particular point in time we only have about three persons in the federation who are trained in the area of mental health.”
Ag. PM Richards stated that the specialist nurses were recruited to ensure that federation has access to the highest level of quality healthcare possible
“When these persons are hired, they are hired to ensure that our own local people can get the best in terms of quality health care at the hospital,” Hon. Richards stated
Richards also explained that the recruited specialist nurses were being paid at the same grade as local nurses and in keeping with the relevant Statutory Rules and Orders, the recruited workers had to be paid a housing allowance.
“In terms of the pay scale, which begins at K33, the very same pay scale the locals are being paid at, it is the very same pay scale which is being used to pay persons who are recruited from overseas. The pay scale is absolutely no different,” Hon. Richards stated.
Richards continued “Now there are some who have complained about the $500 contribution towards housing, and again if you look at SR&O number eight of 2014, not under this administration, it speaks to the fact that when you bring in foreign workers you have to provide them with adequate housing. So in order to assist the nurses who are being brought in they are given an allowance of
The recruitement of Nurses from overseas has long been a practice in the federation. For years under the Douglas led Administrat Nurses had been recruited to work in the federation from countries such as the United States, Africa, Santo Domingo, Cuba and the Philippines.
“To ensure that we have nurses who are able to deliver the required needs to patients at JNF we have had sometimes to look overseas, and this isn’t something that began with this administration; because if persons were to look at what happened in the past this is something that was practiced then,” said Ag. PM Richards
Richards concluded “So when persons are giving the impression that this just began under Team Unity that certainly isn’t the case. What we are ensuring is that as we have these specialized units at the hospital, we have adequate nurses to man the units, because the next complaint you would receive from persons is that they have gone to the hospital and you don’t have nurses there to provide them with good health care. So rather than having that situation, in some cases we’ve had to recruit persons.”
12 Specialist Nurses were recruited by the Ministry of Health in order to provide required level of care and service necessary for the Cancer Care Center, the Mental Health Unit and the Heamodyalysis Unit which are all set to either come on stream or greatly enhances.