13 Mar 2006

Temporary nurses in Vanuatu want to be permanent members of staff

2:08 pm on 13 March 2006

Nurses at Vanuatu's Vila Central Hospital have given their managers two weeks to make them permanent members of staff or they will stand down.

The nurses, who have been working on a temporary basis for the last three to five years, say they are overworked and they cannot continue this way, as they have no job security should anything should happen to them.

The nurses complain that their salary is far too low to benefit the whole family and as long as they are contracted as temporary staff, they are not entitled to housing allowances.

The acting medical superintendent, Dr Willie Tokon, who has just returned home after working in the Marshall Islands for over ten years confirmed receiving a letter from the nurses.

He will be meeting with the hospital administration and public service commission over the nurses' plight.

Dr Tokon says even his is shocked to find that the situation in the hospital has not changed in well over ten years for the nurses who work long hours to care for patients who outnumber them.