By Kareem Smith
Democratic Labor Party President Verla DePeiza is pleading with Barbadians to place their unwavering support behind nurses charging that the Government was attempting to “bully” polyclinic workers into the proposed 24- hour system.
At a political meeting on Sunday evening at the St Michael School, DePeiza said while she supported the initiative, such a measure would require careful planning and sufficient financial and human resources.
“If there is one thing the present administration taught Barbadians when they were in opposition, it was that people power works and that is why today the nurses can stand up for their rights and we back them one hundred percent,” DePeiza said to rousing applause.
Expressing her understanding of the “wisdom” and “efficacy” of such a system, she reminded Barbadians that the DLP also attempted to institute 24-hour services at the Brandford Taitt Polyclinic, but was faced with similar obstacles.
“They would like you to believe that this is new stuff. We tried that but we understood staffing issues, security concerns, the need to have the right education and a fast response. All of these were the critical issues that we took on board and it’s not about bullying and pushing through the crowd and insisting that things must be done. It is about listening, not just rubbing shoulders and getting black and blue. It was about listening to what the nurses were saying were the concerns and they are valid concerns,” she said.
Government is currently at a stalemate with unions and staff associations over the changes, amid repeated pleas from Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic for common sense to prevail on the matter.
The National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Nurses Association have been insisting that adequate amenities including personnel, security, transportation, rest facilities, material resources, and equipment be in place.
DePeiza argued that the social conditions and the overall respect for nurses needed to improve or the country would risk losing more nurses.
“We have to find a way to stem that bleed. Start by examining what they see as requirements to the profession. To be a nurse is a significant calling. You are sacrificing your time with your family to serve your country. The nurses deserve our support, not our derision and certainly not bullying,” DePeiza said