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AG ready to hire abroad

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is ready to hire foreign medical professionals to service the prison system if locals are unwilling.

Speaking in Parliament this week, the MP for St. Philip South noted that doctors and nurses locally seemed unwilling to work in the prison service in an attempt to cut costs of having to take prisoners to the polyclinic and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for attention. And so he said the next step might be to hire abroad.

“We have 1,000 individuals at the prison but we cannot seem to persuade nurses, there are positions, but we can’t seem to persuade nurses that the prison is a place that they can come and work. We can’t seem to persuade doctors.

“We hear about doctors leaving Barbados to find sources of employment, but I am fairly confident that we have opportunities for doctors at the prison. We end up having to drive down to the QEH or drive to Six Roads for matters that if we had a doctor on staff and in situ that would be addressed.”

It was his understanding, Brathwaite said, that doctors preferred to come in and work for two or three hours, as opposed to eight or nine that would be required by the prisons.

“If you include officers, we have a situation where we can have at any point in time 1,300 or 1,400 individuals at Dodds, and quite often there is a shortage of medical personnel. It is an unacceptable situation and we have to do what is necessary to ensure that that is addressed.

“We cannot every time there is some event, use the resources to get down to Six Roads or reach the QEH, when in fact as an institution … we should have a proper and functioning, well-staffed medical facility,” he said.

It was a matter that needed to be addressed with haste, the minister said, adding: “If it is that in spite of the fact that we are hearing there is a surplus of doctors … we are unable to find the resources in Barbados, then I am going to challenge my colleagues in the ministry, I’m going to challenge my colleagues in Cabinet, let us look outside of Barbados because this situation that we have now is indeed untenable and it has repercussions for other areas of the health system.” (LB)

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