By MyVue News.com Staff Writer
Basseterre, 11th February, 2021, (MyVue News.com) –The threat by nurses in Antigua & Barbuda to go on strike is bad news for that Caribbean State that is already under much pressure, trying to control its worsening COVID-19 situation.
But unless some quick solutions are found, nurses at the Mount St. John’s Medical Center, could soon walk out the door, if the conditions under which they have to care for the COVID-19 patients, are not drastically changed.
The hospital, owned by Government, is also the country’s main health facility.
For some time now, nurses have been complaining about the long hours they have to work, inadequate medical equipment and the poor attitude of the hospital’s management.
The Antigua & Barbuda Nurses Association, (ABNA), has scheduled a meeting of its members for either Thursday or Friday, this week, with the hope of clarifying their position and the way forward, including possible industrial actions.
Antigua & Barbuda has had 350 confirmed cases, with 9 deaths and in recent weeks, they have had to introduce stricter measures to help stop the spread of the virus.
Like so many other small developing Caribbean nations that are fighting to keep their economies afloat and balance their efforts with COVID-19, Antigua & Barbuda largely kept its borders opened for months, welcoming visitors.
The squeeze on the health system has been tremendous.
And the President of the ABNA has been forced to say, “enough is enough”, when it comes to the negative impact being experienced by nurses at the hospital.
The President, Soria Dupie-Winston, said that the time has come to send a clear message to those at the top that nurses cannot continue to be treated like robots.
Another contention, is the requirement for nurses to work four 32 hour shifts before they can qualify to receive a long promised $1,000 honorarium, for those working directly with COVID-19 patients. Government sources have promised that these payments are being processed.
The ABNA leader said they, (the nurses), are the ones in the fire and they are the ones feeling the stress and have to work long hours before going home exhausted to their families.
She said the authorities do not seem to have much regard for the welfare of the nurses.