Despite increased, opposition from the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association (ABNA) about the controversial transfer of a senior nursing official, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has stated that Clarissa Christopher is the most qualified individual to serve in the post as Matron of Correctional Institutes.
Christopher, who is currently serving as Matron of the Fiennes Institute, was expected to begin her new job from September 1.
However, she is waiting for officials from the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Establishment Division to finalise the transfer which was made based on a recommendation from the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda.
As a result, Christopher, who was on vacation leave, returned to the Fiennes Institute to continue in her substantive role until the matter is finalised.
“This is going to be a very challenging job that requires somebody with competence and Nurse Christopher is an extremely competent and experienced person and there is no reason why she will not be able to handle it,” the minister explained during a radio interview on Tuesday.
The nurses’ association has argued that the proper procedure to transfer the senior nurse was not followed. It was also their contention that moving her was a waste of resources given that she is a qualified nurse and midwife with over 35 years of clinical nursing experience with additional qualification in specialised nursing in geriatrics [elderly care] and leadership management.
In a recent interview, the president of ABNA Karen Josiah also noted that the Cabinet decided on the transfer without consulting with the PSC or Establishment Division and the move was a deliberate act of victimisation.
But, according to Minister Joseph, his understanding is contrary to what has been put forward by the nurses’ association.
“My understanding is that Cabinet recommends to the PSC, that process is in place from the information that I have. The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health communicated that to the PSC,” Joseph said.
He also said it is now left up to the permanent secretary to complete the transfer in consultation with the PSC and the establishment division.
As matron of Correctional Institutes, nurse Christopher will be supervising the healthcare of inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison, the Sunshine Home for Girls and the Boys Training School.