Reports of a shortage of nurses at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) have been confirmed by Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton who explained that the government and his ministry are working towards addressing the issue.
Minister Norton acknowledges that there is not the required complement of nurses in the public health institution. However, the Minister explained that the administration will be reviewing the salary scale of nurses which he highlighted as a major contributor to the shortage of this category of health workers.
“We know we have been losing nurses particularly to other countries and even within the country to the private sector, and one of the main reasons is emoluments, the salary scale, that is being addressed at the level of the government now with the unions,” Minister Norton said.
The Minister however, noted that there is an adequate corps of doctors at the GPHC. “Staffing in general is a big problem in the health sector, for instance at the Georgetown Public Hospital we are short of 300 nurses, I think the only area that we are to some extent comfortable is with physicians, but of course they are general practitioners in most of the cases.”
The shortage of nurses has seen a number of other issues arising at the GPHC which includes the lengthy waiting period patients have to endure to be attended to.
The Ministry of Public Health intends to build the capacity of nurses through several on the job training programmes.
The Ministry collaborates with the Ministry of Communities, as well as the Department of Public Service for the employment and payment of the health care workers in the public health care system.