Saturday 22 February, 2020

NCRHA dismisses Nursing Association crisis claims 

The North Central Regional Health Authority (NCHRA) has slammed the utterances by the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) in their public statement entitled “Crisis at the NCRHA.”

Released on October 12, the TTRNA condemned the increasing practice of "jeopardizing patient safety" by leaving one registered nurse to manage a ward.

The Association called on nurses, in particular, those working at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, to take the name and number of any manager or supervisor who insists that the nurse manage a ward alone and pass it on to the TTRNA representative so further action could be taken.

The TTRNA also called on the NCRHA CEO to fill the over 200 registered nurses/midwives/nursing assistants vacancies to avoid this unfair practice; desist from opening new wards/clinics until the appropriate safe staffing levels are reached and convert all contract positions to permanent employment of all nursing personnel. 

In response, the NCRHA said the TTRNA is well aware that the initiatives they are proposing have already been conceptualized and implemented and the public is already enjoying the benefits of these profound changes in the delivery of healthcare to patients, and the improved conditions for employees.

The statement noted that these include:

1 A reduction in waiting times at the hospitals and clinics by 46 percent

2 Greater participation in outreach programs with more than 5700 persons screened for NCDs

3 More than 120 direct home visits in 2017 for chronic NCD patients

4 A faster turnover in emergency room visits at EWMSC provides care to more than 112,000 cases compared to the other general hospitals which see approximately 50,000 each per year.

5 The recent performance by the Operation Walk Maryland team of visiting doctors and local medics who successfully completed 53 surgeries in just over 3 days.

6 Significant increases in the nurse to patient ratios on inpatient wards.

The NCHRA said over the past six months it has taken the strategic decision to improve the patient, staff and visitor experience at its facilities. It said this includes the Authority’s decision to eradicate situations where a sole RN is assigned to a ward.

"We have already implemented new measures to ensure that our nurses and enrolled nursing assistants are given the additional manpower, tools and resources they need to deliver quality healthcare to our citizens."

The statement also noted that the Authority has already adopted several innovative approaches that are successfully addressing the shortage of nurses.

These measures are hinged upon radical increases in the nursing pool, including the following:

1 More than 45 nurses have already been accepted to the pool, and more are being added daily to supplement the efforts of our nurses who are already permanently employed within the NCRHA.

2 The injection of 15 nurses to the operating theatre and surgical wards who were on specialized training over the past 18 months,

3 The introduction of a monthly rostering system that incorporates the additional persons from the nursing pool to ensure that a minimum of three nurses are assigned to each ward on every shift. This allows nurses to plan their participation in the pool well in advance to reduce absenteeism.

4 Over the past week, the NCRHA has conducted external interviews with more than 150 nurses to further expand the Nursing Pool to ensure that all wards are adequately staffed and nurses are always available in the system.

5 Introduce new internal systems to constantly monitor staffing levels in all our wards to facilitate advanced planning of nursing allocations to the wards. This will ensure adequate redundancy in the event of unanticipated absenteeism.

"These initiatives have already been implemented, and have resulted in the optimization of our nursing staff to ensure that we consistently surpass the minimum nurse\patient ratios required for each ward."

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