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PHA must address nursing shortage, BNU says

Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President of the Amancha Williams said yesterday The Bahamas’ nursing shortage is “worsening” and will continue to deteriorate unless the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) lays out a plan to address the issue.

“The shortage is going to get worse,” Williams said.

She added: “We don’t have a problem with recruiting, you know…we’re producing the nurses.

“It’s the retention. It’s keeping them once they get in the hospital and they see what’s going on and they realize they can’t get the money, they can’t get confirmed, they can’t get a letter to explain what’s going on.”

The union president said 30 nurses have left PMH (Princess Margaret Hospital) between January and February of this year.

Williams said the PHA has “no direction” and has not developed a plan to tackle the issue.

She said, “This year we came to the round table to ask them: What are you going to do? What is the future plan for the hospital? What are you going to do to boost the morale of the nurses, improve the structure?

“You know, it was told to me, ‘If you have any concerns or anything, address it to the administrator of the hospital, the manager of the hospital and come back to us in three months’ time.’ This was said to us in January. We didn’t get positive feedback. It’s been three months.”

The PHA had no comment when reached yesterday.

According to data compiled by PMH, 403 nurses are needed for specialized units at 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 revealed that these specialized units need to fill a gap of 238 in order to allow nurses to receive benefit leave, including vacation leave and study leave.

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

“It has been a concern and it is the reason why [we] have had to close down critical care beds on occasion,” Sands said.

He added: “While all nurses are absolutely important, the strain on the institution of healthcare delivery is greatest felt in the critical care units.”

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started 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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