Nurses Association Formally Complains about Countrywide Transfers

vlcsnap-2014-05-23-18h45m32s95Tonight there is mounting discontent at the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen and this time it has nothing to do with pharmaceuticals.

Every so often public servants, like teachers and nurses, are shifted around and transferred to other facilities as deemed necessary by their respective Ministry.

The process is often met with some opposition as it does inconvenience the individual, now forced to adapt to a new environment.

However, tonight the Nurses Association of Belize takes the spotlight as they express their discontent with the Ministry’s proposed country wide transfers of seven of their senior nurse managers and two infection control nurses.

This proposed transfer, says the Association, is being spearheaded solely by Dr. Peter Allen, CEO in the Ministry of Health.

vlcsnap-2014-05-23-18h46m01s106According to a letter, which has since been delivered to the Ministry of Health, in Belmopan, the Association, and we “views the management of the entire process by the CEO as total disrespect and disregard for nurses and the nursing profession!”

According to the Association, Agustina Elijio, the acting Deputy Director of Health Services and Chief Nurse in the Ministry of Health, who is responsible for providing “strategic direction and advice” to the Minister and the Ministry was not consulted in this matter. The letter went on to state five reasons why the association believes that these transfers will neither benefit the public service nor the public officers.

They stated that

1.  Nurses will not be able to effectively respond to emergencies at the hospital outside of normal working hours due to the absence of family support systems at their new post. This will directly impact on patient care.

2. The transfer of these nurses will drive up cost within a Ministry that is already operating in an environment of financial constraints while at the same time, driving down productivity and efficiency.
3.  Considerable job stress has been shown to cause health disorders and failure in duties giving rise to administrative deficiencies adversely impacting on the provision and management of health services.
4.  Continuity of programs and services will be affected as there will be no formal process of handing over as all nurse managers are expected to report to their new location on August 1, 2014.
5.  Nurses will be faced with financial challenges as they will be forced to support two homes thereby decreasing the quality of their lives.

The Nurses Association in their letter called for a consultation with CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen. However when we contacted the Ministry of Health this morning, we were told that the CEO had no comment on the matter at the moment.

According to the Ministry, he, and several others addressed in the letter, have not read it; though we were told, that the letter “was” delivered to the Ministry sometime after 4:00 pm on Thursday evening. The Nurses Association has also reserved comment until, according to the president of the Nurses Association Amanda Montejo, the CEO responds to their demands. The letter did make, however, the following recommendations:

1. That the Public Service Commission rescinds the transfer of Nurse Managers and Infection Control Nurses until all measures are taken in the best interest of all concerned. 

2. That the Chief Executive Officer consults and seeks the advice of the Acting Chief Nurse as it relates to nurses and nursing matters.”

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