Carmen Johnson, NAJ President and Errol Greene, Chief Executive Officer of KPH
Normality is expected to return to the public health sector starting as early as Friday night, as nurses who have been calling in sick since Thursday are being asked to resume duties.
Carmen Johnson, President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), told RJR News on Friday afternoon that this is one of the agreements reached at a conciliation meeting called by the Ministry of Labour.
The meeting involved representatives of the NAJ, the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
"We are asking them, where possible, to return to work on the 10 p.m. shift tonight. But normal(ity) should be returned to the public health sector by the very latest 7 a.m. (Saturday) morning," Miss Johnson outlined.
She said the Ministry of Finance has indicated that it will inform the nurses on Monday of the date on which wage negotiations will resume.
The nurses are upset that 2017/2019 wage negotiations with the government have stalled.
Patients have experienced lengthy delays in accessing health care and some facilities are operating on an emergency basis due to the shortage of nurses.
The nurses have described the government's six per cent wage offer over two years and a freeze on allowances as an insult.
In the meantime, Errol Greene, Chief Executive Officer of Kingston Public Hospital, said the institution continues to be hard hit by the nurses' protest.
"For the morning session, we did not do as well as we did yesterday. The turnout at the KPH was a little below or about 50 per cent of what we expected (but) the nurse managers have been able reassign resources to keep the hospital going," he explained.
Mr. Green also gave an update on the situation at Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
"Victoria Jubilee is in a better position than KPH because we use quite a number of midwives. The midwives are not necessarily members of the NAJ and therefore, that would not have affected their turnout to work," he noted.
St. Ann's Bay Regional Hospital
Meanwhile, operating theatres at St. Ann's Bay Regional Hospital are only able to facilitate emergency cases at the moment.
Dr. Tanya Hamilton, Senior Medical Officer at the hospital, said there is a low turn out of registered nurses at the facility but senior nurses are assisting doctors to provide patient care.