HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says insurance for nurses and health workers fell under the regional health authorities (RHAs) and not under the Health Ministry. He made this announcement after president of the TT Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) Idi Stuart said nurses were working in a high-risk environment without insurance.
The issue arose after a nurse at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) claimed she was injured after part of a ceiling fell on her head while she was going to the washroom.
Deyalsingh came under fire after he said the nurse was not injured, but scared and traumatised. Stuart denied this. He said the nurse would have had to fill out an incident form, whether or not she had any external bruising.
He said nurses were working under hazardous conditions and were not entitled to insurance.
Deyalsingh said nurses were employees of the RHAs and the issue of risk insurance was a mandate of the RHAs.
Stuart said the TTRNA would have presented their proposal for nursing personnel over two years ago. He said it was up to the Health Ministry and the Finance Ministry to approve the funding to go towards subsidising financing health insurance for nursing.
“Nurses are disenchanted. There are many issues affecting nursing personnel. That is something that as a professional organisation we have to treat with these instances. We have been having professional-development seminars, conferences, putting out literature to the social media, every area to improve nursing. Sometimes the RHAs work with us, sometimes they don’t.”
Chief executive officer of the Eastern RHA Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt said nurses were not the only workers under such an arrangement, but involved all who were employed by the RHAs.
“There would not be specific insurance for nurses. There is no specific medical insurance coverage. There is medical malpractice coverage for the doctors. We have workmen’s compensation that has disease compensation in it, and occupier liability is covered under our workmen’s compensation.”
CEO of the North Central RHA Davlin Thomas said it was important to state the facts about the incident.
“Things can happen, accidents do happen and in my position the facts should speak for themselves.”
Thomas said the nurse was a member of staff at the institution and would be treated accordingly.
CEO of the North West ERHA Wendy Ali said the NWRHA had coverage for all employees under workmen’s compensation which included nurses. She said all categories of workers would receive coverage as part of risk insurance.