IN an attempt to revive the intensive care unit (ICU) at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan says he will be sending some of the newly-arrived Cuban health professionals to the Mt Hope hospital.
"I understand that there are ten intensive care nurses in this group ... and I am going to put all of them at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex."
"There are about eight to ten beds not in use because there are no nurses, but now they will have (nurses)," said the Minister.
Khan made the announcement while addressing the audience at the "Orientation Programme for Health Care Professionals from the Republic of Cuba" at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain yesterday.
He added that the hospital currently has an ICU policy that states one nurse to one bed but he hopes that nurses are able to do "one to two".
The arrival of 36 Cuban health professionals — eight doctors and 28 nurses — forms part of the Health Ministry's overall strategy to address the shortage of doctors and nurses within the health system in the short to medium term.
According to Khan, attracting, training and recruitment of local human resource to fill vacancies within the sector remains the ultimate goal for filling the employment gap in the long term. However, he added that further retention of foreign healthcare professionals remains a priority given the significant shortage of health professionals in the public health sector.
Khan said he also intends to send some of the workers to Scarborough Hospital as it is a new facility and still has many areas out of commission.
Meanwhile, he urged the Cubans to learn the "Trinidadian English" as it will help them better understand their patients.
This batch of workers, who have been given two-year contracts, brings the total number of Cuban health care professionals employed by the Ministry to date to 170.