TTRNA meets ERHA on Shouter Baptist Holiday to treat with COVID-19 preparedness

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In Photo: From left, ERHA CEO – Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt, TTRNA President – Idi Stuart, SGH Nursing Administrator – Winnifred Vambe, TTRNA 2nd Vice President - Letitia Cox, and other executive management members of the ERHA.

Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) met with the Executive management team of the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) on Monday 31st March 2020. Even though a national holiday, both parties demonstrated their unwavering commitment to prepare for the road ahead during Covid-19 outbreak nationally.

This cordial meeting provided the opportunity for the ERHA to demonstrate the achievements and plans, and the Association to highlight their concerns. The CEO was able to provide concrete plans to ensure continuity of care for citizens, in the face of a rising tide of Covid-19 patients.

It has not escaped TTRNA knowledge, the change in policy of the Ministry of Health, that all suspected and confirmed patient are to be housed at NCRHA’s Caura and Couva hospital facilities. All RHA’s are now mandated to have units prepared, to not only screen patients for Covid-19, but also to house suspected patients for longer periods.

With a turnaround time between testing and receiving results moving away from the internationally recommended 24 to 48 hours due to the volume of samples going to CARPHA, has resulted in suspected cases being quarantined in excess of 3 days in regions other than NCRHA.

Whether the decision to now house suspected patients external to Caura and Couva hospitals, has emanated from NCRHA inability and unpreparedness to cope with rising numbers, or an international recommendation for countries to increase their capacity based on trends, this measure now places an increased risk for more of our members.

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In Photo: From left, TTRNA Eastern Lead Staff Representative - Marlene Roberts, and TTRNA President – Idi Stuart, during their walkabout.

TTRNA also took the opportunity to meet with our members based at Sangre Grande Hospital, who highlighted their concerns and challenges they are faced with during these difficult times. We want to reassure our members that these issues have been documented and will be forwarded to the Nursing Administrator, Hospital Administrator and the Medical Chief of Staff, for their immediate attention.

Some of these concerns include; bathroom facilities, working hours and ‘flexi time’, quarantining of staff post contact, screening layout in A&E department, compensation benefits and personnel protective equipment for staff working with Covid-19 patients.

TTRNA commends the hardworking nursing and midwifery staff and Executive Management of the ERHA, led by its CEO – Tsoi-a-Fatt, as they continue to seek improvement to service delivery at the region.

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