The government has alluded that it may have to put better incentives and strategies in place to ensure that nurses continue to practice on home soil.
Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph said these healthcare practitioners are reported to be leaving the island in large numbers.
He made the remarks while addressing last week’s opening of activities for Nurses Week.
According to the health minister, even when nurses have been graduating in large numbers every year, there is still a shortage in the country.
“It is a complex problem because nurses have the right to work in any state. There is no restriction for them to go to greener pastures. Every year this state of Antigua and Barbuda graduates a minimum of 20 nurses, which means for over the last 10 years, 200 graduated but we still have a shortage,” he said.
Minister Joseph believes perhaps the time is ripe for the government to ramp up its incentives and strategies to ensure that nurses have a better option when faced with the decision to leave or remain in their country.
“Where was the dialogue, the strategy, the discussion, in order to ensure that we provide the opportunity for these nurses?” the health minister questioned.
Joseph also agreed that the government may have failed to address areas of specialization and training for development.