Health Minister Nickolas Steele has stated that there is no stalemate existing between the Public Workers Union (PWU), which is the bargaining agent for health care providers, and the Ministry of Health.
Scores of nurses and doctors bearing placards recently downed tools to protest outside both the General Hospital in St. George’s and at Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s over a number of matters affecting them.
During last Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Steele told the media that if government has not already done so, it is moving to address all of the demands seen in the placards carried by the protesting nurses.
He said the Keith Mitchell-led government has started a hiring process of bringing on additional nurses from November 2 and announced that another batch of nurses will take up duties with effect from November 15.
“We have been in discussion with them, dealing with their issue of their length of holiday for those who have contract. I have personally been in discussions with the union and the nurses on the conditions the nurses are operating under”, he said.
‘I have personally been in discussions with the doctors, and I am not only ensuring that we’re enforcing the bond issue with our doctors, that on top of which we have seen it fit to make sure that our doctors get the opportunity to further themselves,” he added.
The Health Minister who was on hand to witness the protest action of the nurses at the General Hospital said he understands their frustration.
“I am not at all disturbed by the nurses taking their action. I see it as them venting their frustration. I identify with them. I stood there with them. I had no issue with them venting their frustrations to the nation, letting the nation know. In fact, I think it works in my favour, it allows me to request of the nation that we prioritise, that we sympathise with (them), and that we solve our situations in health care,” he told reporters.
Minister Steele announced that government is currently in negotiation with the Government of Cuba to have an additional five doctors take up duties in Grenada as early as next month.
He also said he continues to visit the hospitals consistently to see what is taking place for himself so as to remedy the situations that exist.
“We continue to remain dedicated to health care and the improving of health care. There is no magic wand on this. Health care is a challenge for any country,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Nickolas Steele has announced that some eye operations under the “Miracle Eye Medical Services” that is being undertaken by Venezuela may be done both in St. George’s and Caracas at no cost to locals.
He said the first batch of Venezuelan Doctors have begun their consultants with people needing attendance.
He spoke of the doctors already having seen approximately seven hundred persons, and will
Venezuela along with Cuba is the two Spanish-speaking countries in the hemisphere to provide the largest amount of assistance to Grenada.