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Barbados Today : Ghanaian nurses desperately needed, says head of QEH

Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland says the nurses coming from Ghana are needed to fill critical shortages in the healthcare system.

The imminent arrival of more nurses from the African country was announced recently by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Bynoe-Sutherland noted that the QEH has vacancies for nurses completing their training at the Barbados Community College (BCC). She said while there are complaints about nurses not being paid, QEH “pay nurses on time, every time”.

While delivering the featured address at Ghana’s 65th Anniversary of Independence celebrations at the Cape Coast Stadium on the weekend, where she publicly thanked the Government and people of that country for the 95 Ghanaian nurses who came to Barbados to work in July 2020, Prime Minister Mottley disclosed that approximately 200 additional Ghanaian nurses have been interviewed and will be taking up their assignments in Barbados in the future.

In a post on her Facebook page, Bynoe-Sutherland said she has read commentary on the PM’s announcement of the new pool of Ghanaian nurses coming that they were being chosen over addressing the issues related to locally trained nurses.

However, the Executive Chairman argued that Barbados continued to experience severe nursing shortages compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare practitioners, she added, have become stretched working across five schools and three hotels that were used as isolation centres, Harrison’s Point, and four nursing homes.

She said those nurses left to work at QEH had to work extra hard and are practically burn out.

“We had to bring help. These Ghanian nurses are a tremendous asset to the QEH and have been received warmly by QEH counterparts and the Barbados Nurses’ Association. They are experienced, hardworking and many are specialist trained. Really strong in their faith and a credit to their nation.

“They bring Ghanaian culture and embrace ours. They are very respectful of the elderly, in particular, due to respect in the African culture for elders. They have filled and continue to fill critical shortages while we continue to recruit locally and regionally. It’s not a choice, either Ghanaians or Barbadians. We need both,” she said.

Bynoe-Sutherland also issued the reminder that nursing is easily the most globally-demanded profession and said that for graduates the world is theirs, as the mobility of nurses is one of the advantages of choosing nursing as a profession. She said, many Barbadian nurses leave and are welcomed in other cultures as Ghanaians are welcomed in Barbados.

She also said that while other hospitals in parts of the world closed services during the height of the pandemic, the QEH remained fully functional due to staff nurses, ably assisted by help from Ghana and Cuba, going the extra mile.

“By the way, our overseas hires are paid the same as equally trained and experienced local nurses. But whereas local nurses are in posts that they can be appointed, our overseas hires are on two-year contracts as agreed with the government of Ghana. We have vacancies already kept for persons completing their nursing training this year at the Barbados Community College and wish the students well. It’s really been an honour working with the team from Ghana and we look forward to the new incoming recruits,” she said.


Article first published by Barbados Today on March 11th, 2022

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