JIS News

Minister of Health, Horace Dalley has disclosed that a study is currently being undertaken by the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), to review the system of decentralisation, in order to effect improvements in the Ministry by next year.
Addressing the House of Representatives on September 14, Minister Dalley detailed a number of human resource management initiatives, which the Health Ministry was examining with a view to enhancing its service delivery in the 2006/07 fiscal year.
Indicating that the issue of the secondment of staff from the Ministry to the Regions has been deferred to December, he gave the assurance to all staff in the regions that, “there is no need to fear the transfer as there will be no change in the benefit that [you] now enjoy”.
According to Mr. Dalley, the Ministry’s human resource team was working alongside the Office of the Services Commission to facilitate a smooth transition of persons who would be transferred.
On the matter of training, he told the House that the Ministry, through some $396 million accessed from a four-year grant from the National Health Fund (NHF), has began to address the training of staff.
“To date, $69 million has been spent on the training of approximately 1,600 health workers in all categories.however, priority will be given to areas of greatest need in the system, for example, specialist nurses, pharmacists, environmental health officers and radiographers,” Minister Dalley pointed out.
He noted that some 250 nurses were now in training at the Kingston and Cornwall Schools of Nursing.”The Ministry also sponsors student nurses in the private sector across the island. There are now 45 direct entry midwives in training, 22 of whom will graduate in April 2007,” he advised.
The domestic cadre of nurses has also been augmented through co-operation with the Nigerian and Cuban governments, with both countries having 94 nurses and tutors currently working in the island.
In the meantime, in keeping with the CARICOM mandate that the Bachelor of Science in Nursing be at the entry level within the region, Minister Dalley said that, “we intend to complete the transfer of our two nursing schools to tertiary education institutions.discussions with the University of Technology are ongoing to effect the transfer by the 2007 academic year”.
As for the introduction of new Competency Standards for practical nurses in March earlier this year, he noted that the standards were developed in collaboration with HEART/NCTVET to improve health care delivery.
“Training institutions will begin to use the new standards this month, as schools re-open across the island. Legislation is also being pursued. This change will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable – our senior citizens and children – as practical nurses make up the bulk of staff in nursing homes and childcare institutions,” Minister Dalley said.