Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele appears optimistic that he can resolve some of the contentious issues raised by Junior Doctors and Nurses in the country.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, the government minister said that he is currently engaged in intensive efforts and ongoing discussions to address the situation with the doctors and nurses.
The Junior Doctors had met with the senior government minister a few days before Christmas Day (December 25) and issued him with an ultimatum to address their concerns or face a withdrawal of service.
Among the concerns of the doctors were poor working conditions including forcing them to eat the same food as patients, long hours of work and an inadequate transport service to take them to work when placed “On-Call”.
One of the things that were being demanded by the nurses was job security instead of being made to work on repeated six months contract at the St. George’s General Hospital.
Minister Steele said most of the problems faced by the nurses are Human Resource issues in terms of classification of payments, upgrade of status among other things.
“All of these are worked out with them. Now a significant amount was done by the end of January and I expect that we are working together to sort out all of these issues within the months of February to March just to make sure that every issue is dealt with in respect to the nurses”, he told reporters.
Minister Steele said the nurses have been rather “very friendly” so far in their responses to the positions as outlined by the authorities.
“We have been working with them ….we met with them as recent as last week, senior nurses from all the various sectors in Grenada, to continue that healthy dialogue, that honest and open dialogue in solving all of their issues as we move forward,” he remarked.
According to Minister Steele the Doctors send in eight demands to government and of these six ( 6) have been met or agreed upon by the Ministry.
He spoke of the other two being money issues which the Ministry is not in a position to deal with.
However, he said a number of the doctors are coming back out to work, and he was proud to see this happening.
“I have not seen an official statement from the Doctor’s association although I am seeing some of them coming back to work. I look forward to it because of the urgency of the matter …because we are waiting on a response from them. We have met all of the demands that we can possibly meet so we are waiting on a response from them,” he added.