The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) says the Health Ministry and all RHAs remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of their staff and patients during the covid19 pandemic.
The statement on Sunday was issued one day after the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) said nurses were not prepared to handle spikes of covid19.
TTRNA president Idi Stuart said his members felt abandoned by the government during the pandemic.
In its statement, the NCRHA said since the start of the pandemic last March, RHAs and the ministry have proactively managed the national public health response to the pandemic by implementating strategies to ensure the reliability of the health system to deliver health care to the population.
The authority said this includes the operationalisation of the parallel healthcare system; significant investment in staff wellbeing (specifically frontline healthcare workers); investment in training, technology and infrastructure improvements, and the availability and ready access to a number of efficacious, WHO (World Health Organization)-approved covid19 vaccines.
It said over the last few months, the RHAs "have individually and collectively engaged in a series of human resource strengthening activities, including training, to ensure staff are prepared to the highest level of international proficiency."
The RHAs' partnership with tertiary teaching institutions such as the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), the authority continued, has resulted in hundreds of nurses trained in intensive care management and the management of acute respiratory illnesses.
"Ongoing training programmes such as basic and advanced life support and first-aid skills, respiratory therapy, donning and duffing, are strategically rotated into the various teaching schedules for frontline workers.
"These programmes have contributed to empowering staff to be more efficient in their duties as well as boosting morale, strengthening resolve and commitment and building effective teams."
The authority said initiatives such as the staff shelter programme have been expanded.
"This initiative provides free, comfortable accommodation to all staff during the pandemic and state of emergency to ensure staff safety and comfort."
The NCRHA said this programme is complemented by shuttle transport service and provision of meals where appropriate.
"Substantial resources have been invested into dedicated mental health services for staff support."
It said dedicated daily care is provided via tele-health, along with the provision of regular electronic tips on the most effective ways for stress management.
"Nursing improvement committees have been established at some RHAs to strengthen communication among nurses and between nurses and management to ensure timely responses to matters impacting on care and affecting staff."
On the issue of personal protective equipment (PPE), the authority said, "There is approximately eight to ten months coverage, so staff are adequately provided with adequate PPE for their safety as per infection prevention and controls (IPC) protocols.
"Staff are also regularly trained in the effective use of PPE and IPC protocols."
The NCRHA said the ministry and the RHAs stand in solidarity with all their nursing personnel.
"We salute all our frontline staff members who continue to provide yeoman’s service to the people of TT.
"We continue to build on strategies and develop new approaches to meet and treat with the needs of our nurses.
"Vaccination of all our nurses remains a priority for their own safety and protection."