Minister of Health assists in wage discussions with Nurses

By Caribbean Medical News Staff
Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson has stated that he is working in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance in order to make sure that all matters linked to a new wage package for nurses are agreed on in an expeditious manner.
The Minister was addressing the 45th island conference of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ), at Jewels Resort in St. Ann. He informed that the negotiations also included submissions made on behalf of Public Health Nurses.
“I have also been behind the scene in discussion with my counterpart colleague, Minister Horace Dalley and the negotiating team, trying to work out the sticky points to enable you as members of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica to reach an amicable settlement in relation to the Heads of Agreement for 2015/17,” said Dr Fergusson.
He said that several positive recommendations have been made on important points in the wage talks, and that he is working “behind the scene” to get the best wage package for the nurses. He said that relative to payment for the third tranche of the reclassification exercise that directives were given for payments to be made to the nurses between 2015 and 2016.
Dr Fergusson highlighted that the matter which resulted in a break in the training of Critical Care Nurses has been remedied; and that the National Health Fund (NHF), in connection with the Ministry of Education are developing a collaborative programme.
“There is an outstanding meeting that we must have with the academic community, including UTech and UWI in relation to the training modalities. We have also said that the parallel programme must continue until we are satisfied about the training arrangement,” the Minister said.
He also emphasised that a programme which the Ministry has put forward, with support from the NHF, will spend around $400 million on training for members of the health sector.

In closing, he said: “ with the advent of additional diseases surfacing across the world and in Jamaica annually, Public Health Nurses, Public Health Inspectors, Midwives, Community Health Aides and others in the field will be given priority training in that new programme.”

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