Go-slow could affect dialysis patients

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The health of dialysis patients at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre may be at risk due to a go-slow by nurses at the Dialysis Unit.
The nurses have been on a go slow since Tuesday, while they seek resolve for their grievances.
President of the Nurses Association, Karen Josiah told OBSERVER media that the nurses from the unit have been complaining to their authority for some time now to no avail.
“The nurses have two gripes; the unit capacity has increased considerably over the last couple of weeks to accommodate many more patients for dialysis service and they have not been given the assistance of an orderly,” she said.
There are over 90 patients receiving dialysis, and the nurses are dialysing 44 patients each day.
Each patient requires minimum dialysis of three days per week, however due to lack of sufficient staff that figure has been reduced to two days a week which poses a health threat to the patients.
“They have a total staffing of 16 and now they are down to eight because of the increased capacity. They have been working 12-hour shifts round the clock and the nurses don’t have enough rest periods in between. They are not getting sufficient days off as they should, based on the labour code. So, they are actually violating the nurses’ work conditions,” Josiah said.
She also noted that the safety of the clients and nurses was of paramount concern.
“Whenever people are working 12-hour shifts, there is not enough rest period and the nurses who work these shifts are at risk of [making] errors [due to] the fact that there can be lapses in their attention capacity. Hospitals need to be very careful when you have staff working these 12-hour shifts.”
The head of the nurses’ association said that earlier in the year, the nurses were promised “an orderly because these same nurses have to assist with the lifting and moving of these clients who come for dialysis”.
She said that apart from a ward assistant, the nurses were also promised six additional specialist trained nurses in dialysis care from Cuba, however that has not materialised.
She said, these concerns have been voiced from the beginning of the year, and the nurses were asked to hold on.
“Many of them are going on sick leave because they can’t cope,” the president said.

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