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2,900 nursing vacancies exist in T&T
There are vacancies for 2,900 nurses in the local health system, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday. She spoke at the formal opening of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Teaching and Student Facilities at the San Fernando General Hospital.
Persad-Bissessar said the Government was hoping to fill these shortages by offering incentives and proper facilities for aggressive training. The Prime Minister did not respond to the media when asked whether her sister, Vidwatie Newton, who is said to be a nurse, could be absorbed into the system.
But Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, who also attended the function and heard the question, responded by saying he saw no problem with that. “If she so desires. She is a Trinidadian. I would have no problem accepting her in the system,” Khan said. The first batch of 30 medical students is already enrolled at the southern campus and will benefit from online training from medical professors across the globe.
The Prime Minister also suggested to Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, who was present at the function, that government scholarships and incentives should be offered in areas where they are needed. She told principal of the UWI Prof Clement Sankat that it was all well and good that he had 1,900 students enrolled at the university, but then asked, “Are they in the field where we have the shortages and the vacancies?”
The El Dorado Nurses Training Academy, expected to be opened soon, will provide for 1,000 students to pursue a BSc in nursing for three years. At Sangre Grande and Tobago, more nurses will have the opportunity to train for an associate degree.
All the programmes will be undertaken by College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (COSTAATT).
The Prime Minister said in the interim, by the end of the month, 70 Cuban health professionals, including 56 nurses and 14 doctors, will be given two-year contracts to augment the shortages in the system. Khan said the training facility was necessary to develop a cadre of professional medical personnel and sub-specialists.
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