President of the Registered Nursing Association Idi Stewart is calling on the new Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, to designate Port of Spain General Hospital a hot spot.
Stewart said the hospital has become extremely violent and nurses are being attacked and sexually assaulted.
During the midday thundershowers, nurses gathered in front of the main entrance of the hospital to highlight their plight.
Stewart also called on the Prime Minister to tone down and be careful with his language, after listening to recent remarks by the PM that unions should not threaten him.
“Over the years nurses have been compromising with salaries, among other things, and we will not be compromising the safety and security of nursing personnel. We want to tell the PM be careful in your language, tone it down a little bit.
We at the Port of Spain General Hospital and St Ann’s Hospital are less than five minutes away from the PM’s residence, and you will not want these nursing personnel to leave the institutions and pay you a visit.”
He urged, “Avoid the threatening language towards unions, Mr Prime Minister, because unions have an essential duty to safeguard their members, and that is what we are doing. With the recent attacks on nurses, the TTRNA is no longer willing to allow members of the public to disrespect and assault nursing personnel.”
Stewart said although nurses are challenged with several issues, if the major issue of safety and security is not addressed in the shortest time frame, come September 7, nurses will join with the Joint Trade Union Movement to rest and reflect.
He said while nurses cannot walk off the ward and rest and reflect, there are other actions they can take which would lead to significant disruptions in the health care system, and they will not be fulfilling any duty that is not in their job specifications from September 7.
“If you understand nursing, that is quite a large cadre, and it is going to cause a lot of problems. We already live in an environment that is unsafe. In St Ann’s hospital you have instances where nurses were stabbed with scissors, nurses got broken arms, guns were brought into the hospital.
“We want to thank the CEO of the NWRHA, Wendy Ali, for calling us to a meeting tomorrow (today), where we will be bringing three recommendations from 18 points to the meeting that we will not be shifting away from.”
Chairman of the Northern Branch of the TTRNA Letitia Cox said the association was making a clarion call to the Minister of Health to personally visit and take charge of the people he employed to take care of the hospital, because nurses are not happy.
“Enough is enough. We will not be taking any more and sweeping anything under the carpet. We will reveal every flaw in the hospital.”
In a press release, the NWRHA said the safety of staff, patients and everyone accessing its facilities is of paramount importance to the authority and, in light of recent security concerns at the PoSGH, a meeting has been scheduled for today between the NWRHA management team and the association to share and discuss proposals for security improvements.