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Antigua: Help arrives for dialysis nurses

Two of the Cuban nurses promised for the Dialysis Unit at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) have arrived in Antigua.

This has been revealed by the Ministry of Health, in response to comments made over the weekend by the President of the Nurses’ Association, Karen Josiah, amid a go-slow by nurses assigned to the Dialysis Unit.

The nurses said they were overworked because the number of patients needing dialysis is increasing while the staff complement is dwindling.

Over the weekend, Josiah accused Ministry of Health officials of trivialising the concerns of the nurses.

The ministry said in a release issued yesterday, that Josiah’s comments are based on a lack of information that is readily available from the ministry, and in particular from the Principal Nursing Officer Margaret Smith.

The release goes on to dispel Josiah’s claim that nurses brought from Cuba to work in the Dialysis Unit, will not be able to take up their posts until they are registered and processed by the Nursing Council.

According to the ministry, six of the seven Cuban nurses, who will soon be assigned to the dialysis unit, have already been registered to work in Antigua and Barbuda. The process was completed while the nurses were in Cuba.

The release further notes that a seventh nurse will be registered in a matter of days.

Health officials are also assuring the public and Josiah that they are closely monitoring the situation, to ensure the appropriate number of nurses are recruited for the dialysis unit.

Meanwhile, Smith said she is in constant contact with hospital officials to ensure that the dialysis patients continue to receive the highest quality of care until the additional staff arrives.

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