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Jamaica: Nurses on sickout amid surging COVID-19 cases in hospitals

Scores of nurses across the island called in sick on Wednesday morning, sending health officials scrambling to assess the scale of the sickout, which coincides with record hospitalisations and significant deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cornwall Regional, Mandeville Regional, May Pen Regional and University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) have been adversely affected by what is perceived to be a group industrial action.

A sickout is a period of sick leave taken as a form of group industrial action.

The UHWI has confirmed that at least 52 nurses there have called in sick.

Nurses are advocating that structured measures should be introduced to guarantee care if healthcare workers contract the virus, but the Government has not changed its stance of having a predetermined priority list.

It is understood that the ongoing protest is aimed at forcing the Government to change its stance on the issue.

When contacted, Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) President. Patsy Edwards-Henry, issued a terse “no comment”.

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