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Nurses cry out

Mike King

Nurses cry out

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FOLLOWING RECENT BREAK-INS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the Geriatric Hospital and a number of polyclinics, Barbados’ nurses are saying enough is enough.Their president Paulette Drakes, of the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA), says they are all outraged by the series of breaches. And they are pleading for security to be beefed up at health facilities around the island. Recently, more than a dozen lockers were broken into at the QEH and a man scaled the wall of the Geriatric Hospital.“I am concerned that there has been a robbery at the Geriatric Hospital where someone jumped over the wall and just recently, the nurses at the QEH had a robbery where 18 or 19 lockers have been broken into,” said Drakes.“One young woman was so desperate . . . . She wants back her documents which include her ID card – even if she does not get back the money taken. Black Rock Polyclinic has had a problem and there are other polyclinics that are unsafe.“Security is a serious concern and I wonder sometimes if we are at risk because the majority of people working in the service are female,” the BNA head said.Drakes, who attended yesterday’s service for public health nurses at Bethel Methodist Church, wants to know who is looking out for them.“We have to look after the external customer and somebody has to look after us as the internal customer; and so, therefore, security is an issue wherever the nurses are.”Acting Chief Public Health Nurse, Claudette Casey, echoed similar sentiments.“Security is a major issue. Some of the clinics have security guards and some don’t. Security needs to be improved.”Drakes also called for a salary evaluation for registered nurses who she said were not paid at a level commensurate with their qualifications or workload.She praised the sterling efforts of public health nurses, and said in no way could they be seen in a lesser light than a general nurse.“As a matter of fact, public health nurses are equally important and in some respects, they lead the way. They give preventative treatment while those at QEH provide curative treatment.“The public health nurses should be in the forefront to try and prevent the one institution we have from getting all of the patients in a curative treatment. We want prevention so really and truly, the public health nurse  is an integral part of health care.”