PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has mandated Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan to improve the way medical staff treat with the general public at health institutions.
Persad-Bissessar made the statement in the Lower House yesterday as she made her contribution to the bill aimed at amending the Nurses and Midwives Registration Act.
Persad-Bissessar had not originally intended to contribute to the bill but eventually did so to allay the fears of nurses she spoke to before entering the Parliament.
“I did not really plan to speak but I felt it important to speak because I met outside with some of the nurses and can we please give them a round of applause for the great work they have been doing,” Persad-Bissessar said.
The nurses, dressed in their uniforms, were seated in the Parliament’s public gallery while Persad-Bissessar delivered her contribution.
Persad-Bissessar said the nurses raised two concerns about the bill with her.
The first of the two concerns raised was that individuals would be able to train as a nurse and be admitted to practise at a health institution without taking a licensing examination.
Persad-Bissessar said she raised these concerns with Khan.
She said an amendment is to be introduced to ensure that after an individual completes the requisite training they would then have to write the licence exam.
“So the concern that they would not have to write an exam appears from this amendment to have been allayed. The fears about not having to write the licence exam appear to have been allayed,” she said.
The second issue of concern raised by the nurses, Persad-Bissessar said, was an amendment allowing for an individual with only one pass from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and a “passion for nursing” would be allowed to train to become a nurse,
Persad-Bissessar said this too has been addressed.
“There would not be someone going into training as a nurse with one CXC and the passion for nursing,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said the People’s Partnership Government is attempting to effectively correct this country’s health sector.
“The service in the health institutions is important and again from conversations throughout the length and breadth of the country people express concerns about health care they also speak of the service that they receive when they attend an institution,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“They complain of the way in which they are treated,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar spoke of “persons who are already ill” being “roughed up”.
“You go there with your loved ones ill or you yourself and that is the last thing you need to be, in the normal language, roughed up or ‘bouff’ up and I can see people (in the public gallery) nodding their heads because it does happen,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar mandated Khan to improve the way individuals accessing health care are treated.
“A patient must be the client of our health services,” Persad-Bissessar said.