The new Peebles Hospital currently under construction.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton, Minister for Health and Social Development believes that the plan implemented by the 2003-2007 National Democratic Party (NDP) administration to bring Virgin Islanders home to work should still be pursued.
The Health Minister recently told residents that with the new Peebles Hospital coming on stream, Government will be looking to nurses on scholarships to return home and fill the staffing needs.
"We have a lot of nurses overseas being trained. We have had nurses trained who have not come back. We are trying to find who they are and get them to come back to give some national service," Minister Skelton stated.
The Minister said Government needs to bring its people home and offer them lucrative salaries and benefits. According to Minister Skelton, the previous NDP Government instituted a plan to bring Virgin Islanders home, but the persons who were involved in executing the programme started asking what was in it for them.
"The very people who were here assisting us in making the programme, they turned around at the last minute and said now you doing all of that for them, what you doing for we?...Shortly thereafter, we were put out of office...It's a good programme. It's something we need to do to encourage our people to come back to give some kind of service to this country and they have used tax payers' money to be trained," Minister Skelton stated.
The BVI Health Services is looking to recruit close to 100 more nursing staff to fill the needs of the new Peebles Hospital, which is set to be completed in August of this year.
During the sitting of the House of Assembly on February 12, Minister Skelton revealed that currently there are 33 Medical Doctors on staff. He also shared that there are some 110 nursing staff, which includes 79 Registered Nurses and Registered Nurse Midwives, 11 Unit Managers and 20 Nursing Assistants.
As it relates to Allied Health Practitioners, Minister Skelton pointed out that there are currently 43 on staff.
Speaking about staffing of the new hospital, Minister Skelton stated that the projected needs are 32 Medical Doctors, 204 nursing staff and 65 Allied health Practitioners.
The Minister noted that some of the recently trained medical officers will be required to specialize in select areas, such as family medicine. He stated that several new doctors will also be deployed to community health services for expanded services and extended operating hours in poly-clinics.
The staffing strategy is being worked on for the new hospital and Minister Skelton stated that the framework will ensure that the authority's hiring, training, retention and deployment decisions are aligned to the future needs of the new Peebles Hospital.