The Ministry of Health, Wellness & the Environment has always viewed chronic disease management and the welfare of patients receiving dialysis treatment at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre as top priorities.
The Ministry is therefore deeply concerned at the recent statement by the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association, Ms. Karen Josiah that Ministry officials have been trivializing the issue of the shortage of dialysis nurses at Mount St. John’s and the extra workload that the nurses have had to contend with in response to the increasing number of citizens experiencing renal failure.
The Ministry wishes to assure the public and the President of the Nurses’ Association that it is closely monitoring the situation to ensure that the appropriate number of nurses are recruited to increase the dialysis nursing staff at Mount St. John’s.
Indeed, Ms. Josiah’s insinuation that the Ministry has been tardy in addressing the nursing shortage at the dialysis unit is unfortunately based on a lack of information that is readily available from the Ministry, and in particular from the Principal Nursing Officer Margaret Smith.
For instance, Ms. Josiah claimed that even if Cuban nurses were to arrive this week, they would still have to be registered and processed by the Nursing Council.
The fact is, six of the seven Cuban nurses, who will soon be assigned to the dialysis unit, have already been registered to work in Antigua and Barbuda. This process was completed while the nurses were still in Cuba. Two of the nurses arrived in the country over the weekend and the others will soon follow. The seventh nurse will be registered in a matter of days.
Meanwhile, the Principal Nursing Officer has been in constant contact with officials at Mount St. John’s and in the dialysis unit to ensure that the highest quality of care given to the patients is maintained until the additional staff arrives.
“I have been communicating on how best the situation can be managed. The patients and their needs have been assessed and those who can manage with two dialysis sessions per week will have two, while others who need three sessions will have the required three sessions,” says the Principal Nursing Officer. “They have all been carefully assessed and the priority is to maintain quality care to all dialysis patients, “she added.
The Ministry appreciates the keen interest and concern that the President of the Nurses’ Association has for her membership and again extends an invitation to the President to seek current information on matters pertaining to the care of patients, especially those suffering from chronic diseases,