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Severe nursing shortage in SWRHA

By Richardson Dhalai Wednesday, December 11 2013

There are approximately 1,000 nursing vacancies throughout the south west region, according to Dr Lackram Bodoe, chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).

As a result, Bodoe said the shortage could affect the intake of patients at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, as well as the extension of opening hours at health facilities, and the introduction of a two-shift system at operation theatres.

Bodoe spoke to reporters yesterday, after an achievement ceremony for nurses at San Fernando General Hospital. On the current nursing shortage, Bodoe said while there were approximately 2,500 nurses scattered throughout out the sprawling region at health centres and hospitals, there was also a shortage of 1,000 nurses.

“We are recruiting, but we are also going through the (Health Ministry which is conducting a national recruitment drive. I know the Minister has sent a team to Cuba recently, but I’m not quite sure what was the result of that.” Bodoe said while the nursing shortage would present some challenges when the new hospital is handed over to the SWRHA, out-patient clinics and staff would be transferred to the Chancery Lane facility.

Bodoe also said the shortage would also affect implementation of a two-shift system at the operating theatre. “What has been recognised internationally is, if you break up that operating time into two operating sessions where you have morning session, that will start from seven until 12, and then you have a break from 12 to one; then you operate again from one to four or five. You can actually increase your efficiency, you can have more operations being done.”

On the extension of hours at health centres, Bodoe said one of the challenges was most centres close at 4 pm after which the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department had an influx of patients between four and eight.



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