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01.18.2012 20:40    Comments: 0    Categories: Health      Tags: nurses jamaica  

HEALTH Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson is to address the vexed issue of the lack of specialist training for nurses in the public sector before his administration's first one hundred days in office is out.

"I know that there are constraints in terms of funding and the kinds of tutors that we need for these specialist areas but it is something I am going to put some thought in and I am sure that in the first 100 days in office I should have something more fulsome to say on the matter," Dr Ferguson told the Observer in a recent interview.

FERGUSON... specialist training is a matter that I will raise in my early discussions

The concern was one of several raised by the Nurses Association of Jamaica during a meeting of the Human Resources and Social Development Committee of Parliament last year. That committee was chaired by Ferguson who was at the time Opposition's spokesman on health.

"There is ongoing training presently in terms of general nursing. It (specialist training) is a matter that I will raise in my early discussions. I have not had the opportunity because this has been my first week in office. I have been meeting with the different groupings, my directors, the staff at the Ministry of Health, technical teams and so on. I have not yet started the process in terms of the stakeholders — the nurses, doctors etc. I am going to be meeting with them over the next couple of weeks at which time I am sure issues which came up before my committee of Parliament will again be raised," Dr Ferguson said.

"Those are matters that I will also have on my agenda in terms of discussions with my permanent secretary and my chief medical officer and other technical staff members but to be very honest with you it is early days yet but is my intention under my watch, that some of those concerns that have been raised that during my tenure I will be able to respond," he added.

The NAJ has in the past highlighted the absence of training for nurses in several speciality areas in the public sector, including at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre — a specialist facility that focuses on the restoration of persons who are physically challenged due to spinal injuries or trauma.

The association has lamented, for example, that there are no nurses trained in orthopaedic nursing, urology, burns care or in rehabilitative care, employed to the Government.

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