BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- The government is working diligently to address severe human resource shortages at the Joseph N. France General Hospital according to Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps assured the public that the government is working diligently to further address the severe human resource shortage at the hospital.

Phipps said the hospital is recruiting additional laboratory technicians, who are scheduled to arrive on island by the end of this month.

“At the moment, JNF is trying to recruit an additional three or four lab technicians,” the minister said. “We are negotiating with the Government of Cuba to get two highly trained lab techs here soon.”

Minister Phipps encouraged citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to pursue medical studies, to aid in increasing the local representation in laboratory technical specializations and other areas where there are shortages.

“We need more of our local people to train in these areas so that we do not find ourselves in a position for dependency on foreign nationals to come and assist us,” she said.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Health in November 2016 noted that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has had a long-held practice of recruiting foreign medical personnel due to shortages on the ground.

The statement said that the recruitment of nurses from countries like the Philippines and Cuba is not a new practice, with nurses recruitment dating back to 2011. The statement also said the nurses who have been recruited to work in the Federation provide specialist skill sets currently lacking among the local population.