Ghana to trade nurses for cash with UK
Ghana and the British government are poised to sign a nurse-for-cash contract.
Health Minister Kweku Agyeman-Manu stated on the floor of parliament on Monday, 5 December 2022 during a discussion of the 2023 budget that each nurse Ghana sends to the UK will likely cost the West African nation £1,000 once the arrangement is finalized.
In accordance with a previous agreement reached between the two nations, nurses from Ghana are already being dispatched to Barbados.
“Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, we have begun sending our nurses abroad on a bilateral basis, and the second cohort of nurses has been dispatched to Barbados as a result of the agreement we struck with that country. Why would they come for both, Mr. Speaker? Now that we’re hearing about it in Barbados, patients are asking for Ghanaian nurses to be by their bedsides, and I think that’s good news for us,” said Mr. Agyeman-Manu.
He told the house, “We are talking to the British government, and we are about to sign a memorandum of understanding after Cabinet approval to start sending nurses, even certificate nurses, to go for training, work there, and return after three years.
He added: “And, out of these nurses, Ghana is going to benefit from some little funds that the UK government will pass on. When we finish the agreement, it’s likely we’ll get a £1,000 to come back to support our health system for every single nurse that goes away.”
On Thursday, July 30, 2020, 95 Ghanaian nurses (49 women and 46 men) arrived in Barbados on a chartered flight by Azores Airlines for a two-year contract.
They were to support the country’s healthcare system in the Caribbean.
Mia Motley, the Prime Minister of the Island nation, said, “I stand here on your Independence Day to thank the people of Ghana for being able to support us in our need for nurses, with the first 95 nurses having gone to Barbados in July 2020,” at Ghana’s 65th anniversary of independence in the Central Region in March 2022, at which she was the special guest of honor.
“We thank you, the government of the people of Ghana, for that most kind gesture, and we are encouraged that they have greatly improved our public healthcare system; in fact, we have just finished the interview process for another 200 nurses who will be coming to Barbados soon,” she continued.
A contract for the hiring of 120 nurses from Ghana to help meet the island nation’s staffing needs was signed in November 2019 by the foreign ministers of Ghana and Barbados on behalf of their respective governments and peoples.
When the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as part of her official visit, the agreement was signed on Friday, November 15, 2019 at Ghana’s Jubilee House.
The agreement’s goal is to set up the framework for the Republic of Ghana to send nurses to Barbados, while also taking into account Barbados’ current adherence to established international workforce policies and practices and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Code of Ethics for nurses.
The scope of services and responsibilities includes Ghana providing Barbados with registered nurses with the level of expertise that both nations have agreed upon, and Barbados providing safe and secure working conditions for Ghanaian nurses to engage in professional practice, as well as medical care when necessary.
Compensation is in line with the terms and circumstances for local licensed nurses working in Barbados. Barbados must also offer Ghanaian nurses the professional assistance they need to adhere to the standards and regulations set forth by the Nursing Council of Barbados.
Interviews were conducted with all 150 candidates who had been shortlisted, and 120 of those candidates were ultimately chosen.
The qualified nurses have a minimum of three years of experience, and their areas of expertise include ophthalmology, critical care, cardiac catheterization, emergency rooms, and operating rooms.
It will be recalled that President Akufo-Addo in principle agreed to Prime Minister Mottley’s request to send some nurses to work in a number of medical facilities in Barbados on June 15, 2019, during an official visit to Barbados as part of activities to promote the declaration of 2019 as the Year of Return.
After the bilateral talks, the Barbadian Prime Minister said at a press conference that “we have indicated that we are searching for just under 400 nurses, so it is not a small number, and we really do believe that this is a wonderful opportunity of cooperation between our two countries” due to the acute nursing shortage in Barbados.
She added that in an effort to safeguard Barbados’ healthcare industry, there had also been an initial commitment to secure the nurses and offer collaborative education programs moving forward.
President Akufo-Addo stated that “putting them all in our public health system is one of my headaches” since there are too many nurses in Ghana. There have been many nurses produced, but we haven’t been able to use them for several years.
I’m going back, he continued. On Monday when I return to Accra, the Prime Minister will hear from me regarding this nurse issue.
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