Grenada could face a massive exodus of nurses to Britain after the situation with the Coronavirus pandemic is over or eased up.
THE NEW TODAY was told that several nurses at the St. George’s General Hospital have already signed contracts to take up job offers in the United Kingdom but were forced to remain longer at home due to the Covid-19 that affected world travel.
According to a senior nurse at the hospital, several of her colleagues are waiting to fly out of Grenada to take up lucrative contracts in Britain.
“Some of them got stuck because of the Covid. A few of them were getting their paper work sorted out when the Covid came. I think some of them were supposed to go since January,” she said.
The nurse stated that the majority of Grenadian nurses have already left for England and their departure is one of the reasons why the St. George’s General Hospital is struggling to provide proper healthcare for patients.
“The majority including senior persons like myself and persons who were trained under me – the majority of them have left and others are looking to head out. I met a colleague of mine two weeks ago and she said that she is looking to get out too,” she said.
“Apart from those who were waiting to leave, it has some now who have made up their mind that they are definitely going to leave because of how they were treated during the Covid,” she added.
In the early days of the coronavirus, several of the nurses complained about the lack of Proper Protective Equipment (PPE) given to them to fight the deadly virus and the lack of information provided from the Hospital Management on Covid-19.
The senior nurse pointed out the Hospital Management is approaching nurses to get them to try and influence their colleagues to remain at home to help with the local health system.
She said that the situation and working conditions at the hospital are very problematic for many of the nurses as the facility is badly under-staffed.
“You can’t have the same set of nurses working night and day, night and day – eventually they’re going to burn out,” she remarked.
On reports of a massive influx of Cuban nurses at the St. George’s General Hospital to replace the initial batch of some 80 plus local nurses who migrated to England, the senior nurse said this is definitely not the case.
She stated that the Hospital Management visited Cuba to recruit nurses but apparently ran into problems “as the few Cuban nurses down here were able to get messages to the ones back in Cuba telling them that it’s not worth it to come”.
“I think that the few that came it is because their husbands (were) down here already working at the hospital,” she added.
According to the nurse Grenada’s main hospital “is in a terrible, terrible state” and the problems are not being addressed by the authorities.
She pointed to a situation in which some wards are overflowing with patients and not enough nurses to look after them adequately.
She said that the universally accepted formula is that there should be at least six patients on a hospital ward with 30-35 patients but it’s not uncommon for two nurses to be asked to look after that amount of patients in a single shift.
“The ICM Code – it is supposed to be at least six patients per nurse. That is what ICM Code of Nursing says. So how you’re having 30-something (patients) and you are having only two nurses… so you are having 16 plus patients to one nurse,” she told THE NEW TODAY.
The nurse charged that it appears to staffers that the Ministry of Health is not involved in any significant manner in the affairs of the St. George’s General Hospital and that everything is left entirely up to the Management to run the facility all on its own.
She said that the signs are evident of a total breakdown in the healthcare system in Grenada.
“There is a breakdown from the head come down so nothing is really happening. People have been showing up for work, doing what they have to do and getting out,” she added.