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JIS News

Health Minister John Junor has assured, that the free movement of skilled persons throughout the region, will not impact negatively on the local health sector.
Under the free movement clause of the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), skilled persons are entitled to move and work freely throughout the region. Persons eligible include university graduates, media practitioners, artistes, musicians, sportspersons, managers, technical and supervisory staff attached to a company or a self-employed person.
“I do not see it as a problem” Minister Junor told JIS News. “I am just not one of those persons that subscribe to those fears. I see it as opportunities opening up for those who are skilled,” he added.
Elaborating, he said that skilled health personnel in Jamaica would have the ability to take advantage of the shortage of doctors and other health professionals in some of the smaller islands. “There is no point for these islands to produce these health personnel because they do not have the economies of scale that would make it useful for them to set up for example, a physiotherapy school,” Minister Junor argued.
Jamaica, he further posited, had the ability to attract students from these islands and would need to develop the capacity to train more health personnel. “This would include expanding the cadre of persons involved in tutoring to ensure that we have more clinical personnel that are hospital certified,” Minister Junor explained.
However, while stressing the opportunities, the Minister pointed out that Jamaica would have to also consider the development of retention strategies so as to monitor the situation. “I think that you will have initial dislocation, however this will taper off,” he said.
On January 30, there will be a symbolic signing of the CSM by participating CARICOM member states at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus to formalise the agreement, which took effect on January 1.