Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 29, 2018 (SKNIS): While responding to a question from an audience member at the Prime Minister’s Forum held on October 28, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps assured the public that the government is working diligently to further address the severe human resource shortage at the hospital.

To this end, the Joseph N. France General Hospital is currently in the process of recruiting additional laboratory technicians, who are scheduled to arrive on island by the end of November 2018.

“At the moment, JNF is trying to recruit an additional three or four lab techs. We are now in negotiations with the Government of Cuba to get two highly trained lab techs here by the end of November,” said the Minister.

Minister Phipps went on to encourage citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to pursue medical studies, to aid in increasing the local representation in laboratory technical specializations and other areas where there are shortages.

“What we need is for more of our local people to go off and train in these areas so that we do not find ourselves in a position for dependency on foreign nationals to come and assist us,” she said.

A statement issued by the local Ministry of Health in November 2016 noted that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has had a long-held practice of recruiting foreign medical personnel due to shortages on the ground.

The statement said that the recruitment of nurses from countries like the Philippines and Cuba is not a new practice, with nurses being recruited dating back to 2011.  It also said that the nurses who have been recruited to work in the Federation provide specialist skill sets currently lacking among the local population.