TTRNA President - Idi Stuart, meets with staff of Scarborough General Hospital on Friday 1st November 2019.
During the period Thursday 31st October to Monday 4th November, TTRNA held a series of meetings with the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA). Attendees included executive management and as well as nursing staff, and several grievances were discussed.
TTRNA acknowledges that there are a number of issues affecting the Nursing and Midwifery population in the TRHA. Thus, we have prioritized accordingly as follows.
1. Permanent as opposed to Contract Employment for Nursing Personnel.
2. Outstanding gratuity and increment payments to be made to Nursing Personnel.
3. OSHA violations
4. Lack of official appointment letters as Head Nurses or Acting Head Nurses.
5. Transferring of patients between Tobago and Trinidad.
6. Pending abolition of senior nursing positions (Cluster Manager/Nursing Supervisor).
The attempts by the new CEO of the TRHA – Mr. Sheldon Cyrus, to address these long standing problems, are indeed commendable. However the staff with the support of the TTRNA, demonstrated their dissatisfaction, to ensure these concerns are addressed in a timely manner. Notably, our action was not given the media coverage, that the doctors similar action of this weekend was given. Despite this, it too caused significant disruption in the functioning of the institution.
This was deemed necessary as there appears to be a direct, sustained and unproductive political interference into the organizational structure of the TRHA. The daily functioning of the Scarborough General Hospital (SGH) and its associated satellite centers have also been affected by this interference. The aforementioned interference is being done with no consultation of those directly affected and has greatly demoralised staff. This will not be allowed to continue unopposed.
TTRNA also takes note of an online petition ‘Tobago’s Health Care Needs a New Leader’, which seeks to highlight some of the shortfalls of the current Secretary of Health. TTRNA is aware of the veracity of some of its content. These range from pending and ongoing litigation for dismissals, to stock and human resource shortages. Additionally, there are allegations of redirections of scarce resources to new projects which duplicate existing services, and the removal of the General Manager of Nursing position in the TRHA.
Our members have since resumed duties but have advised the TTRNA, to give the Authority two (2) weeks till Monday 18th November 2019, to resolve some of their most pressing concerns. The CEO and the executive appears to be willing and the Board seems to be logical thinking. Therefore, if these issues fail to be resolved, we are left to deduce that it is due to the reluctance of one (1) individual i.e. The Secretary of Health. Our members will then be forced to resume their action. Furthermore, TTRNA will then decide if it is to join the growing chorus for the change in leadership for healthcare in Tobago.
Moreover, TTRNA commends the staff of both the Scarborough General Hospital, and Scarborough Health centre (Dialysis unit) over the last few days. They stood resolute in their demand for better treatment of their patients and the staff who are expected to deliver quality care for their patients. We are cautiously optimistic for a favourable resolution come Monday 18th November. However, TTRNA encourages our members to prepare for the worst.
United we stand, divided we fall!
In photo – from left to right: CEO of TRHA – Sheldon Cyrus, TTRNA President – Idi Stuart, Tobago Lead Staff Representative - Lisa Cudjoe,
Primary Care Nurse Manager – Kathy-ann Ottley, Michelle Edwards Benjamin – Secondary Care Nurse Manager on Thursday 31st October 2019
(Not in photo – 1st Vice President & Chairman of TTRNA Tobago Branch - Karen Frank).
Head Nurses and other senior nursing personnel with TTRNA representatives,
prior to meeting with TRHA CEO and HR manager on Monday 4th November 2019.