REAL NEWS: The Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association is set to meet with its membership on Thursday, April 20, to discuss a host of issues impacting them and the way forward.
Nurse Aaliyah Gregory, first vice president of the Association, says there are some issues that nurses have been waiting patiently – over a number of years – to have resolved.
However, she says, they are getting nowhere with having their concerns addressed properly.
Gregory, who has almost 30 years’ service, says some matters pertain to pension for nurses at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre. Since the opening of that hospital in 2009, she says, they were promised a pension plan or thrift fund – but this is yet to be put in place.
She notes that there were promises to implement an adequate plan that would suit the needs of everyone; but 12 years have passed and the nurses are still waiting, she says.
According to the first vice president, the Association is also concerned about the condition of healthcare facilities across the island, including the clinics, the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital, and the Fiennes Institute.
Gregory says the conditions under which nurses have to work are deplorable, and those who are able to effect change would not function in such circumstances. In fact, she says, they would refuse to go to work.
However, nurses have been toiling day and night in these conditions and waiting for things to change, she notes; yet nothing is being done and things, in some instances, have gotten worse.
Gregory reports that nurses have been working without a contract for over 15 years. And while the process of negotiations commenced last year, she says, nothing has been said since then.
Gregory says the executive of the Nurses Association believes the time to settle these issues is past due; hence, it needs to meet with its membership for meaningful discussion on how to resolve them.
She says she is not sure where their stance will take them; however, she hopes it will not be a drawn-out affair. Enough is enough, she declares, and something has to be done about the continuing poor treatment of the country’s nurses.
Thursday’s meeting is set to take place at 3 p.m. at the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association Headquarters on Queen Elizabeth Highway. It will be attended by clinic aides and registered nurses.
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