From right to left - TTRNA President – Idi Stuart speaking with, General Manager of Quality, CEO (Ag) – Terron Gilchrist, POSGH Nursing Supervisor,
Project Manager, IRO for POSGH (partly blocked), and General Manager of Nursing - Sherma Alexander
Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) was pleased to be part of a walk through of the refurbished building, which formally housed COSTAATT, nurses hostels and Doctors quarters, on Monday 03rd February 2020. This building, on the North Eastern side of the Port of Spain General Hospital (POSGH) compound, is to be used as a temporary facility until the new 540 bed capacity tower is completed.
Following the 6.9 magnitude earthquake which rocked T&T in 2018, and TTRNA’s immediate and vociferous protestation of continuing to house, not only patients, but also nursing personnel in a building, that was cited by numerous sources as being structurally deficient, the POSGH - Central Block was finally decanted following a meeting between the TTRNA, the Minister of Health, UDECOTT, and TTMA.
TTRNA fully understood the dire and uncomfortable position this then placed our members in having to operate in a less than desirable condition. However, we saw the need to draw the line with staff safety. Finally, the long awaited new Central Block tower, has been placed on the front burner and visible preparatory works have begun.
In the interim, a temporary solution had to be sought. Therefore TTRNA foresees that the refurbished ‘COSTAATT building’ will bring some measure of relief to the ward areas and Accident and Emergency Department.
Additionally the CEO (Ag) – Mr. Terron Gilchrist has ensured, a section on the 2nd floor that will be set aside for nurses to have an eating area, a rest area, pantry and locker room. Not to mention the entire unit is fully air-conditioned and TTRNA representatives viewed same.
TTRNA expressed concerns with regards to ensuring adequate spacing between beds, proper plumbing and other inappropriate fixtures seen, which were duly noted and some already acted upon. TTRNA also expressed our desire to have all meals plated by the dietician and kitchen staff, as is done in other RHAs and developed countries. Especially since the pantry area is woefully inadequate to have nursing personally plating meals.
Even though this temporary 86 bed facility, is not purpose built and thus comes with many draw backs, the relocation of medical wards from their current location, ought to bring some small measure of relief to nursing staff and the patients who are housed there.
TTRNA would like to express our appreciation to the CEO (Ag) – Mr. Terron Gilchrist, as a man who keeps his word, in ensuring there is robust consultation on all things that affect staff and ensuring the unit is not opened without all the health and safety issues of nursing personnel being properly addressed. No wonder another union – NUGFW, awarded the NWRHA as there top employer performer for 2019.
Once the executive levels of the health sector is occupied with more CEO’s like those in ERHA and NWRHA, significant progress could be made in a relatively short period into converting our healthcare system in Trinidad and Tobago to a level rivalling any developed country.
TTRNA will continue to update its membership as to the status of this project and looks forward to meeting staff in the coming weeks to hear any concerns with this facility during our usual walkabouts.