JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister Ferguson, says the relevant agencies are working assiduously to ensure that monies deducted from the salaries of health professionals are paid over.
  • Recent reports have revealed that the salary deductions of health personnel have not been paid over to the relevant agencies to meet their financial obligations.
  • Dr. Ferguson said that the discussions also included issues affecting public health nurses and what is to be done to address them.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the relevant agencies are working assiduously to ensure that monies deducted from the salaries of health professionals are paid over to their respective financial institutions.

The Minister gave the assurance during the launch of National Nurses Week, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on Monday, May 12.

Recent reports have revealed that the salary deductions of health personnel have not been paid over to the relevant agencies to meet their financial obligations.

“I know you have some issues, especially as it relates to your statutory deductions. I have been in touch with the Ministry of Finance to see how quickly we can resolve those issues. I have also met with the Chairmen and Regional Directors in the region,” the Minister said.

“I have read the riot act as it relates to persons’ statutory deductions, which are a part of your pay and therefore ought not to be tampered with, and they were reminded of the fiscal responsibility framework. Now that we have the national treasury arrangements, what we are saying is that when the money comes, salary has to be the first drawdown,” he emphasised.

Dr. Ferguson said that the discussions also included issues affecting public health nurses and what is to be done to address them.

Meanwhile, Acting Chairman, South East Regional Health Authority, Dr. Andre Cooke, used the opportunity to apologise for the discomfort faced by the nurses.

“I want to thank personally, every nurse for their understanding and most importantly, their co-operation during this ordeal. I know your reaction could have been very different…but I wish to express my appreciation for the manner in which it has been handled. I want to assure you that every effort is being made to rectify this problem,” he said.

In the meantime, Dr. Ferguson congratulated the nurses on the “wonderful work” they are doing under difficult circumstances.

“I can assure you that within the next 12 months we should be seeing some improvements in some of those areas that you are deeply concerned about in terms of shortage of medical sundries and other things in the health centres and hospitals,” he said.

Scores of nurses were present at the function to also celebrate International Nurses’ Day. Also in attendance were wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen; Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Health Care Infrastructure, Hon. Luther Buchanan; and Managing Director, LASCO Affiliated Companies, Peter Chin.

International Nurses’ Day and National Nurses Week highlight the invaluable contribution and commitment of Jamaican nurses to the healthcare sector.

The Day is celebrated annually on May 12, the anniversary of founder of modern day nursing, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The theme for 2014 is:  ‘Nurses: A Force for Change – A vital resource for health’.

Nurses Week will be observed from July 13 to July 19.