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Health Minister, Mary Isaac, has echoed concerns raised in Guyana this week about the migration of nurses and midwives from the region.

The issue was raised during the 45th annual general meeting of the Regional Nursing Body (RBN), where a call was made for ‘urgent action’ to address the problem of experienced nurses and midwives leaving in ‘large numbers’.

“We are always concerned about the migration of our human resources,” Saint Lucia’s Health and Wellness Minister, Mary Isaac, told St Lucia Times in an interview Thursday.

Isaac noted that it costs a lot of money to train people.

“At the end of the day we do not get to use these people in our own institutions at home,” the minister observed.

She explained that the nursing brain drain was such a concern that it had been raised at the level of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Isaac disclosed hat the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is undertaking a study to determine the impact the migration of nurses is having on the Caribbean’s health care services.

“We are waiting for that study. We are hoping it will conclude in October so we can look at the statistics in terms of the numbers that are migrating.”

“We are trying to determine why they are migrating and what it is that can be done to prevent that migration,” the minister told St Lucia Times.

“Once the study is done, we will sit and strategise, because it will inform us in terms of the cause as well as what we can do to try and address the issue of the migration of our health care workers.”



  1. Your’ll not giving the people enough money to sustain their families straight up.don’t pretend your’ll liars.

  2. We have always had an issue when it comes to St.lucians recognizing and appreciating their resources. Speaking as a nurse who studied in Cuba we were promised jobs upon our return to the island and instead of keeping to the committed promises we were fought by our own.Unlike the other caribbean countries which studied with us which includes St.Vincent,Gendada,St.Kitts and Jamacia,we were forced to write exams and even having gone through the exams it is evidential that results were tampered with. There are still well trained Nurses with skills and potential including a bachelor degree in nursing scranting for jobs to make ends meet around the island. we also have the issue of nuses being placed on one month contract at the National Mental Wellness center, this is evidential that Nurse are threatened when it comes to having a future and providing one for their family. Their needs are not met.

  3. though this practice did begin under your tenure, i am blaming you that its still continuing. how can you have nurses who have retired, gotten their gratuity, drawing a pension still working as nurses? that is a case of some people getting 3 sets of payments while younger nurses are forced to seek employment out of the state. this is incredibly short sighted on the part of the GOSL as we are creating a few issues with this situation;
    1. we are exporting some of our better qualified people when their services are needed here. 2. we creating a future shortage of nurses as when these older nurses no longer can physically make it , who is going to replace them when the younger nurses have already migrated. 3. we cry we in a budgetary crunch but choosing to over compensate some people while some a left destitute.
    Mary isaac this is your ministry so stop just talking and take concrete actions, why are the technocrats who created this situation still left to manage? why are you allowing operatives of the opposition display you as incompetent? is it that you really are out of your depth?
    lets see if you will deal with this decisively….the youth have to be given a chance, if some managers have failed then replace them, we have excess amount of talent why not engage new people?

  4. You have been in this thing for a long time now, so not to pretend as if it is now this thing is taking place! ; they need money to take care of their families. So you find out!

  5. Come on Mary you don’t need a PAHO report to know the problems with the nurses migration. It’s obvious to everyone but you. It’s is a problem of money, manpower and money. Treat them as professionals as they are. Stop that month to month nonsense. Ministers don’t work month to month and some of them are not professional. This is a synopsis of the study you waiting for so start acting. Do you know how many of your top nurses leaving between now and end of year. A lot.

    • Exactly, and by year end next year a whole other set will be leaving, so unless they want to start hiring out of state they need to fix this. Young people who want to become nurses are becoming discouraged based on what is happening now

    • You are so right! They know what the problem is and they think we Lucians are fools! Oh please! Nurses have no support, not even the association can help because it is corrupted. Conflict of interest with a president who cannot represent them because she is also a Principal Nursing Officer (PNO).

  6. They dont care about nurses; it st lucia; They dont give a shit. All Nurses should leave; having people on sessions for how many years and only 3 months contracts

  7. Was it not the minister that made the comment “ if the nurses want to leave then no one is holding them back?”. A lot of unfair treatment is going on at the hospital it not even about the $. Nurses are being promoted and given scholarships only because the kiss the *** of the sisters . And others who deserve the promotion have been left at the same grade for ages . Ask about the so called CRN position that was made available and not even the ministry of health knew about it . Why do we leave ? Smh . HEALTH HAS NEVER BEEN A PRIORITY, Tourism has

  8. I’m of the opinion that the minister is not in touch with some sections of her ministry surely. Could be the nurses or the nursing council but surely she is not aware of something. I no for a fact that there are nurses and midwives on island who are not getting paid for their services fully. What’s worst is some are even unemployed while some have worked for years as qualified midwives and not even getting the salary of a registered nurse farless that of a midwife. They work on sessions meaning like a contract that has to be renewed with limited benefits. Dear minister you are right about the migration but like every good leader does they identify problems and they work towards resolution. Get to work and on that I’ve always said this issue of so many qualified nurses and midwives not getting fully employed is a major problem. It leaves them with no choice but to migrate and sadly kids are left behind to seeing their parents through a watsapp call. I grew up with both parents and I want this for every child though it’s not possible all the time.

  9. Refreshing. Let me commend the contributors to this post. It started when the nurses and the nurses association started fighting against sending nurses to Cuba. Now let me add one front of the mind issue wht is this same nurses association doing to improve working conditions for nurses. I knw we will pay the price because when they are gone we will have to accept what we get

  10. Imagine being in the health sector working as a nurse for over four years and being given a three month or one month contract SMH where as Recruiters from 1st world countries are out there like Hawks practically begging nurses to come work for them offering nurses so many incentives, Mary treat your Nurses with the respect that they deserve “in for a rude awakening”

  11. I know of nurses working for over 5 years on sessions, depending on where they work their salary does not even meet the salary of a registered nurse. A few of them are midwives in the community and still they do not get the salary as a midwife yet alone that of a registered nurse. It is not always about the money BUT these people have their families to feed, school loans to pay etc. It is hard for a nurse who is on session to get any loan now because their job is not guaranteed. I agree with the nurses if they decide to migrate because nothing is being done here. St Lucia is complaining about the shortage but yet still they are not ready to employ, support or pay the nurses. They will feel it soon enough….

  12. Mary Mary quite contrary. You do know that the grass here is dry. First Mary You nor any govt ever gave me a cent to help me become a nurse. I took my loan and paid my expensive university to become a nurse. Nurses are under paid. We help save lives. We are advocates for patients when doctors say they give up, we stand up for our patients. We love and care for them. Young nurses can’t get jobs and to make it worse those who have already retired sit in their seats and they have now implemented a rule of three months then contract. Bullshit! Tell me Mary Mary quite contrary? Should young nurses sit and watch retirees earn what’s rightfully theirs. Should they sit and wait when the horse tracks will be ready to care for a broken arm? He’ll no! We’re moving on to a place where the grass is greener. Nurses are treated so badly that they are even forced to remove trash and wash diet utensildiet utensils, instruments patients’ garments. Why would we want to remain under such conditions? Where is SLNA to fight for us. Down with them. We’re moving to higher grounds with our entire family. All other govt workers get salary increase never nurses. You can have 10 years and your salary remains the same. What are we told. There’s no money but still extensions are being done to a delapidated stadium which houses the hospital. Worms are seen every day on the floors and walls of the God forsaken place .who wants to remain there? Mary and UWP you can keep the building you built for the St Jude hospital and put your horses in them. By then we will all be gone . We won’t bother you anymore. Thanks for running us out of sweet st.lucia with the beautiful sunshine and lovely beaches. Thanks Mary!!!

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