JIS News

The official signing of the 2006/08 Heads of Agreement between the Government and the Nurses Association of Jamaica, was held today (August 29), at the offices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Kingston.
As part of the agreement, the association has agreed to an increase of 19 per cent in year one and five per cent in year two. The nurses will also receive an increase in their professional accessories and tailoring allowance, and the reclassification of registered nurses will be implemented in July 2007.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies, said he was very pleased with the signing of the agreement.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Government, let me place on record our clear understanding of the important role which the professionals, the nurses play, not just in the health service, but in the social development of the country,” said Dr. Davies.
He added that the Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, and himself were aware of the concrete steps that must be taken to strengthen the nursing profession.
“Issues in relation to conditions of service, issues related to the training of nurses and all these changes cannot be effected over night, but there is a clear recognition of what needs to be done and we are committed to doing this, in collaboration with the professional body representing the nurses,” Dr. Davies said.
In his address, Mr. Dalley said he was hoping that, “the signing this morning will signal to the other groups in the medical field, particularly the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, to come to the table and settle”.
“You have a commitment to keep the health sector in shape. You have a commitment and it is now your duty to make sure that the health sector remains efficient,” he emphasized. President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, Edith Allwood-Anderson said the nurses had entered into an agreement with the Government in the interest of the public of Jamaica.
“We settled in the interest of the country as we believe we subjected the country to enough, and it is time for us to give them a breather. We settled because the government side promised a reclassification with a 2007 implementation date. If there are difficulties, the Nurses Association of Jamaica will have discussion with the Ministry of Finance and we will agree on a way forward,” said Mrs. Allwood-Anderson.
She added that the nurses agreed to a settlement, because “the government also demonstrated that they were interested in terms of giving the nurses a professional accessories allowance, along with the tailoring”.
“That represented something that is actually about a 75 per cent increase, and that will signal to all nurses that although they do not have the money, they were willing to do something,” she said.
“We want to thank Jamaica.and we just want to say that you have entrusted your care to us. We hope that we ourselves, to whom little is given much is required, and so I will be asking of my nurses high returns for what is given,” Mrs. Allwood-Anderson said.

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