Vanuatu will be reviewing its agreement on recruiting nurses from the Solomon Islands.
Chairman of the Public Service Commission(PSC), Martin Mahe says some changes needed to be made to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to fit the new Government Renumeration Tribunal (GRT) determination.
“Benefits that a registered nurse from Solomon receives under the existing agreement includes travel and housing allowances,” he explained.
“Under our new GRT determination, these benefits have been removed and incorporated into each worker’s whole salary scale.
“In addition, it has been brought to our attention that Solomon nurses who came working in Vanuatu before upon their return became jobless.
“We (PSC) will be working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the review.”
Asked if the government has the money to recruit over 100 Solomon nurses, Chairman Mahe replied: “We would not have traveled to Solomon Islands to seek recruitment if there is no budget”.
PSC Chairman went there with the Director of Hospital Curative Services, Dr Willie Tokon and Leipakoa Matariki from the Nursing Council of Vanuatu.
Chairman Mahe revealed he went to meet his counterpart and the Solomon Ministry of Public Service to talk about reviewing the recruitment agreement.
It has been reported following their visit that the Solomon Islands Nursing Association fully supports the mass recruitment of nurses to work in Vanuatu.
It was also reported that conditions of service offered in Vanuatu are three times better than what Solomon nurses are receiving at home.
Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health is operating with insufficient staffing to meet all medical needs.
The Parliamentary Secretary (PS) to the MOH, Jerome Ludvaune, has stressed Vanuatu continues to face nurse shortage as a result of inadequate workforce planning.
“Recruiting from Solomon Islands is a short term solution to meet health worker shortage while Vanuatu is eyeing capacity improvement of its national nursing college, said Mahe.
“The Vanuatu Nursing College of Education (VNCE) has been producing very limited number of graduates every three years,” the PSC Chairman stressed.
“Nurses after graduation have another two years to undertake intensive before they become registered nurses.
“We need to boost staffing in all government health facilities throughout the country. We recruited from Solomon before and we were satisfied with their performance.”