The Nurses' Association of Jamaica (NAJ) has disagreed with Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton that there will be no fall-off in health care delivery despite the migration of specialist nurses.
On Friday, NAJ President Carmen Johnson revealed that about 240 nurses left the island for jobs overseas in the last nine months.
However, Dr. Tufton said there was no need for alarm as other nurses are being trained to replace those who have left.
Ms. Johnson has suggested otherwise, asserting that the departure of specialist nurses is a big hit to the public health sector, which employs a little more than 3,000 nurses.
She believes Dr. Tufton does not have a full grasp of the situation.
"To those who are looking on from the outside and not from inside the clinical areas where the needs are and where the short-staff is being experienced, it would be a challenge; and though we are training 25 persons to replace 200 persons who left, it is still not sufficient," she said.
Ms. Johnson contended that the health system is already severely short-staffed and the major hospitals are functioning "way below 50 per cent of their capacity" because they do not have the number of nurses they need.
She said the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) has been the hardest hit by the nurse migration.