Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr Dayton Campbell has expressed strong disagreement with Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton who recently asserted that the migration of specialist nurses will not result in any fall-off in the delivery of health care.
Dr Tufton told RJR News that additional measures such as training and recruitment of nurses from overseas will be implemented by the government to respond to the migration of Jamaican nurses.
Dr Campbell, responding in an interview with RJR News, however, observed that training nurses will take a while, which, according to him, will result in health facilities suffering from the ripple effects of migration in the interim.
“If it is that you can only train two persons in ICU or in nursing anaesthesia for the year; if you have lost ten in a nine-month period, and you can only train two over a year or two years, clearly it’s going to take you about five years before you replace those that you’ve lost, but you’re going to continue losing next year as well,” he declared.
He said it will be a major challenge to maintain the current numbers under such adverse conditions.
On Friday, the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) revealed that about 240 nurses had migrated to take up job opportunities overseas in the last nine months.
Most of those who have left are reportedly specialist nurses, according to Carmen Johnson, President of the NAJ describing their departure as a big blow to the local public health sector which employs just over three thousand nurses.