A possible crisis in the nursing sector has been averted as Cabinet has approved the appointment of the Minister of Health’s six members to the nursing council, and letters are expected to go out to the six by Wednesday.
With the appointment of the six, there will be a legitimate quorum averting any crisis as it relates to the registration of nurses and the holding of examinations.
The update was provided to Justice Frank Seepersad on Monday, by a representative of the minister in the lawsuit which was brought by ousted president of the council, David Murphy. Scores of affected nurses and nursing students packed the courtroom at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.
They had responded to a notice inviting anyone affected by any decision made by the council from April 14 to September 12, to attend the hearing. Those affected when the life of the council came to an end in April, were urged to write to the council’s registrar summarising their particular circumstances.
Seepersad further advised them, “So that when the new council is quorate, it can quickly review your matters. Once all legal perquisites are met, the council can begin issuing certificates or sanctions.”
However, he told those who still had difficulties to seek legal representation and they will be given an opportunity to be heard when the matter next comes up for hearing on October 29.
But, already there appears to be discontent among nurses after hearing that Murphy was one of those expected to be re-appointed by the minister. While they murmured amongst themselves in the courtroom, objecting to the proposed appointment, their attorney Martin George raised the issue of their concern with the judge.
George also raised the issue of elections since the council also comprises of nine members from other representative nursing bodies, including the Registered Nurses Association, the Association of Midwives and the Psychiatric Nurses Association.
Elections are expected in January.
Seepersad suggested to the council’s attorney Elaine Green that the registrar ascertain whether all systems are in place for the holding of elections since, according to him, it cannot be that the council could be operating with the bare minimum of members.
This, he said, would be an affront to the legislation. Murphy is represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen, Umesh Maharaj and Dayadai Harripaul.