In celebration of International Day of Nurses on Thursday, the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) called on the government and Ministry of Health to use the occasion to think about issues such as poor working conditions, inadequate staffing, unsettled wages and salaries negotiations, outstanding arrears, shortage of personal protective equipment and other matters plaguing nurses.
In a release, JTUM said since the cries of nurses continue to fall on deaf ears the union decided it would use the occasion of International Day of Nurses to renew its call to the government to fix existing issues.
It went on to say these issues are a burden on the backs of the frontline workers as they battle to contain the spread of covid19 in the country. This burden is affecting the quality of care to patients, specifically covid19 patients that require intensive care.
“The Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) and by extension the Ministry of Health are currently hiring nursing and midwifery personnel only as temporary employees even as they risk their lives every day in the battle against covid19.
“Due to poor hiring and management practices at some of the RHA’s, staffing is severely short. Short staffing has been further depleted due to the covid19 pandemic with the introduction of the parallel health care system and increasing cross-infection rates within the health care setting.
The unions also call for fair compensation to nurses for overtime and for the government to expedite the process for TT Registered Nurses Association to attain Recognised Majority Union status for the benefit of all nursing and midwifery staff.
“Nurses standing on the frontline are required to give 24 hours a day, seven days a week of themselves to treat covid19 patients, which continues to be in the hundreds daily. As a result, nurses in the other areas have to take up the stress that is now placed in the other parts of the health system.”