TOBAGO Regional Health Authority (TRHA) nurses must stop carrying out duties on inter-facility vehicles, which are being used as ambulances within the health care system, declared TT Registered Nurses Association president Idi Stuart. He was addressing contract nurses and midwives on Friday during a lunchtime protest outside of the Accident & Emergency Department, Scarborough General Hospital.
The protest addressed permanent employment for contract nurses, outstanding increments, gratuity payments among other issues. Stuart said the nurses are not obligated to travel in “these bread vans.
“First to begin, the category of staff who is supposed to be going on the bread van, interfacility transport is the emergency medical technician (EMT),” he said.
“Don’t blame us if you have failed to hire EMTs and paramedics to work on the ambulance. That is not our fault. So, sorry population, effective immediately…..we will not be going on those ambulances. They have to hire the correct staff to go on those vehicles. Stop using nurses and midwives. We have always been doing that to ourselves.”
Stuart said nurses are constantly picking up the slack whenever there are staff shortages among other departments. “Everytime there is not a category of staff, we have been fulfilling the roles. If there is not an attendant on the wards, we push. If the maid is not around, we do the work of the maid.”
He continued: “We have to stop doing these things because it will come back and bite us. So, stop doing other people’s jobs because they have no respect for you. They don’t appreciate you. So from now, we want you remain in your job spec. And going on the ambulances are not your job spec.”
Stuart added the inter-facility vehicles are not ambulances. “Those vehicles must have an ambulance licence and $2 million risk insurance. Go to the transport department and ask them to produce the licence for those vehicles. You will not find it anywhere.” Stuart said within the past few years over 40 nurses and midwives have been injured in these vehicles.
He added none of them have bene compensated. “So, we are saying no more, no more, no more.” Stuart said the issue will be raised on Monday during the association’s meeting with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.