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PMH needs 400 nurses

Four hundred and three nurses are needed for specialized units at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), according to data compiled in January 2019 by the hospital.

There is a dire need for 165 nurses in the critical care units at PMH.

The critical care units comprise of the Intensive Care unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), operating theaters, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Accident and Emergency (A&E), Maternity Ward, and Dialysis Unit.

The data also reveals that these specialized units need to fill a gap of 238 in order to allow nurses to receive benefit leave.

Benefit leave includes the allowance of vacation leave, study leave, maternity leave, etc.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said the shortage is concerning as it relates to the delivery of healthcare at the hospital.

“It is a concern,” Sands said.

“It has been a concern and it is the reason why [we] have had to close down critical care beds on occasion. It is the reason why even though you have 20 beds in the intensive care unit, sometimes only 16 or 15 can be opened.

“It is the reason why you cannot dialyze more patients in the Dialysis Unit. It is one of the challenges in the emergency room for maximizing patients. While all nurses are absolutely important, the strain on the institution of healthcare delivery is greatest felt in the critical care units.”

In February 2018, it was revealed that there was a need of 528 nurses throughout The Bahamas, including PMH in New Providence, the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama, and clinics on the Family Islands.

Sands told The Nassau Guardian that the Ministry of Health is working to address the issue of recruitment and attention of nurses by “dealing with the longstanding issues that have been identified by nurses as reasons why they feel less inclined to remain”.

He said some of the issues outlined by nurses include compensation and challenges with patient beds.

When asked if the ministry intends to address the financial concerns of nurses in the upcoming budget year, the minister said, “It’s something that we can make a proposal and the feasibility of that is in large part dependent on budget and other concerns. What you basically try to do is the best that you can.

“You still have to keep the hospital running. You still have to keep it stocked. You still need pharmacists, you still need radiographers, you still need equipment, you need supplies, etc., and not every need of the system is going to be met.”

Earlier this month, Sands said the government is working to address the bed shortage within the next four months.

“We just spoke to bringing back the Male Surgical Ward, [the] Children’s Ward and the old Intensive Care Unit back on stream,” he said.

“That will add probably an additional 50 [to] 60 beds, depending on the layout and that’s why I can’t give you a definite answer.”

PHA Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows said recently that despite a 25-bed donation by the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, the hospital is still short about 200 beds.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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