The passage of the Nurses and Midwife legislation this week to better protect the rights of both professionals alike must be backed by a pay hike.

This is according to Public Health Minister, Ms. Volda Lawrence, who has observed that both levels of professionals being targeted by this legislation have been departing the public health sector in droves.

Both categories of health workers have been pursuing higher learning but are not financially rewarded by the Public Service, the Minister noted. Consequently, many have opted for careers in the private sector or bolted for jobs overseas.

This state of affairs has been substantiated by Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Karen Gordon-Campbell. She made reference to the fact that the migration of nurses has left only one psychiatric nurse remaining in the local health sector. Migration, she said, has accounted for the loss of the 10 others who once offered their services here.

“The new measures (Nurses and Midwives regulations) are long overdue and will help retain specialised nurses in the Guyanese health sector,” she said.

She added, “the rules will solve a lot of the problems currently hurting the sector.

Nurses and midwives must now familiarise themselves with the new regulations so that they are aware of new expectations of them and additional rights enshrined in the Act for them.

“Nurses need to know there is something that protects them, if you got to go by certain rules, you have to know what is governing the rules. You have to know what is expected of you and what is not expected of you,” said Chief Nursing Officer, Ms. Linda Johnson-McIntyre.

Unlike the decades-old measure which guided the practice of nursing and midwifery, the new regulations cater for enhanced protection of patients and professionals in the critical sector, said Johnson-McIntyre.

Even as she lauded the novel Continuing Medical Education measure in the new law, the CNO said that she firmly believes it will create new pathways for more specialties in nursing and midwifery and will help boost the country’s health sector in the future.  

Currently, nurses comprise the bulk of the health sector’s workforce, some 70 percent, who are key to helping achieve the country’s universal health coverage ambitions.


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