The country’s public hospitals and clinics are short of some 1,000 nurses, said Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis, in yesterday’s Budget debate in the House of Representatives.
He said he had received this data from reliable experts, in his role on a committee on nurses education along with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
“There is a startling number of vacancies. The nation is missing 1,000 nurses.” Francis said the country is facing impending problems and a crisis of nurses. He also alerted that 60 per cent of nurses now in service are 60 years or older, and so very close to retirement.
“We risk losing a large cadre of nurses at the same time, and all their institutional knowledge.”
Francis said the widespread failure of many of the country’s pupils unable to score even 30 percent at the SEA Exam is a “national tragedy.” He disclosed a monitoring system for such pupils, who would then be aided by an intervention. He said current economic times now call for a totally new way of viewing education.
“If we are to transform the economy the way education functions must be radically transformed.”
Francis said areas that might traditionally have been an afterthought in budgetary allocation — such as tourism, film and art — must now be heavily focussed on, so as to help hold up the economy.