Changes in the nursing profession are imminent with a new Nurses and Midwives Act expected to be tabled this year, according to Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands, who addressed healthcare stakeholders last night at the Nurses Association Annual Education Conference.
Nurses have long agitated for a repeal of the present legislation to ensure proper re-classification and recognition of the different professions within their field.
“If it means that we will have to advocate for a new legislation let us get it done,” Dr. Sands charged.
“I stand here to say that a new Nurses and Midwives Act will happen this year.”
In recent weeks government and nurses have locked heads over a myriad of issues that include the implementation of a new shift system, better benefits for nurses and pay increases. The government has repeatedly said that there are no financial resources, however, to meet their demands.
Meanwhile, there remains a shortage of nurses as Bahamian nurses have been recruited internationally.
“Over the last 18 months we have sought to make this conversation topical …if we are to solve some of the serious challenges in healthcare we will have to rely on the single most important elements and those who have the greatest impact, the nurses,” Dr. Sands said.
Eyewitness News understands that health officials have already written draft legislation that will allow for amendments to the Nursing and Midwife’s Act that will establish a regulatory framework and increase responsibilities for advanced practice nurses fields such as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anaesthetists or nurse midwives.