An alleged nurse “sickout” has concluded as government officials hold meetings with nurses who reportedly protested against the BVI Health Services Authority last week, according to Premier Andrew Fahie.
Asked about the situation during a Friday press conference, Mr. Fahie said Health and
Social Development Minister Carvin Malone met with some of the nurses involved.
“We listened to the concerns,” he said. “But remember too that that’s our job as elected officials and leaders to make sure that we give persons the audiences to air their grievances, and then look and see how we could find a common ground.”
Mr. Fahie said he’s hopeful that the government will find a solution that is in the “best interests of the people” during a planned meeting this week with stakeholders.
The main priority for the government, he added, is to ensure that services to the public are not disrupted.
The premier said that many of the issues brought up during last week’s meetings with nurses are not new.
“They’ve been some issues that have been ongoing for quite some years,” he said. “But I’m not going to go in-depth to say anything else until the concluded negotiations.”
The BVIHSA previously denied reports of a sickout. In a Feb. 7 statement, the agency said that only two nurses were on approved sick leave, even as online media outlets reported anywhere between 10 to 20 nurses on strike.
In another statement last Thursday, the BVIHSA didn’t directly address the alleged sickout, but instead provided a “general update on matters of priority.”
The statement, which was signed by Chairman Moleto Smith Jr., explained that the BVIHSA had asked the government’s Internal Audit Department last September to “conduct an independent review of all functional/operational components within” the agency.
“The aim was to glean independent recommendations to strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of the BVIHSA,” the statement added. “This initiative is actively underway.”
Mr. Smith also stated that the BVIHSA is in the first six months of a three-year term for the current board of directors.
“Since the first BVIHSA board meeting in August 2021, the BVIHSA board has convened more than 25 meetings over the past six months, including meeting on the sister island of Virgin Gorda, in order to address legacy issues, while establishing the framework to advance the necessary initiatives and reforms to improve and sustain health services in the [VI],” he said.