Some Jamaican nurses will be going to China and the United Kingdom to complete their training, according to Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton.
Tufton made the announcement on Tuesday while making his contribution to the 2018/2019 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He noted that the expansion of nurses’ training in Jamaica, particularly for advanced critical care nurses, is being hampered by a lack of resources.
The Health Minister reminded that he had told the House a year ago that Jamaican nurses are internationally demanded, in short supply and that as a country “we were restricted by the lack of clinical capacity, in particular to train more in Jamaica.”
Tufton noted that, in terms of theory, Jamaican nurses are well rounded, but there was a lack of hospital beds to train. The Health Minister said the Government took this challenge to its international partners and, following negotiations, has signed two bilateral agreements with China and the United Kingdom aimed at addressing the problems.
“We will see Jamaican nurses trained for a part of their advanced training in Jamaica and then go to Chinese and UK hospitals with their local tutors to complete their clinical rotation, a significant achievement that has never been achieved before,” Tufton said to applause.
He revealed that the first batch of nurses and their tutors will leave for China in July. The UK programme will commence in October with the first group leaving to the Leeds Teaching Hospital next April.
“In the first year, Mr Speaker, we will increase critical care nurses’ training by 100 per cent as a result of this new programme …it is something to celebrate,” Tufton told the House.
He also told the House that “the world is looking on and in fact we have been told by our partners that this may be a prototype for future training because one country cannot do it alone and there is a shortage of medically trained personnel globally, not just in Jamaica.”
The Health Minister expressed thanks to the two countries, noting that it took “a lot of negotiations to get it done.”