Worker shortages: Cuban nurses being recruited, Health Ministry trying to reduce nursing workload
There is a shortage of nurses locally but Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony said about 80 Cuban nurses were recruited this year and the ministry will next year try to recruit more while simultaneously reducing the workload of nurses in the system.
“As you know we have a problem with attrition of nurses,” Dr. Anthony said on Friday during the Health Ministry’s end-of-year press conference.
He, however, said several solutions are being pursued.
To fill immediate needs, those 80 nurses were recruited from Cuba this year.
Dr. Anthony said another 200 nurses from Cuba should be in Guyana early 2024 and the ministry is actively trying to recruit more nurses from other countries.
“In the past we weren’t bringing a lot of nurses (from Cuba), we were bringing more doctors but now we have asked the Cuban government for more nurses,” he said.
A three-month crash course is being done to help Spanish-speaking nurses from Cuba integrate better locally.
This problem has been brewing for some time with local nurses being recruited for work overseas. At its end-of-year press conference yesterday, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), said the hospital has an overall deficit of about 600 nurses for optimum patient care. And GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer Robbie Rambarran said some 107 nurses resigned in 2022.
At the GPHC, Dr. Anthony said efforts are underway to help reduce the workload of nurses. Many nurses, he said, are involved in non-clinical duties including simple tasks of taking items from one place to another.
But according to him, the Health Ministry is willing to hire personnel to get non-clinical work done so the nurses can focus on their clinical duties. So the GPHC should soon reduce the nurses’ workload early next year.
THOUSANDS NEEDED STILL
Dr. Anthony on Friday said about 4,000 nurses are needed in the coming years as the government builds new hospitals and facilities across the country.
In response to the need, expanded training programmes have been launched and the government has increased the salaries for nurses and other healthcare workers.
Dr. Anthony said 1,100 persons are currently undergoing nursing training and next year, Guyana’s health authorities hope to recruit another 1,000 to 1,200 persons for training. The Ministry of Health is also hoping to get more nursing assistants trained across the country.
“There is no way out of this except to train people and bring them into the system,” the Health Minister said.