13 Mar 2006

Vanuatu Health Minister to look into contractual status of Vila Central nurses

2:19 pm on 13 March 2006

Vanuatu's Health Minister Morkin Stevens says he is looking into the issue of contractual status of nurses working on a temporary basis at Port Vila's Central Hospital.

Fifteen nurses at the hospital have given two weeks notice to the administration to look into why they have not been made permanent staff members.

The nurses, who have been working on a temporary basis for the last three to five years, say they are overworked and have no job security and no shift, housing or even child allowances.

Mr Stevens says the Ministry's lack of funds has prevented many nurses being graded as permanent.

"Just because of the restriction or ceiling of allocation to the Ministry of Health, there's not enough funds to assist this increment, grading, because if they become permanent then we need extra funds to pay for this. Now it's up to me and the administration to look at this issue very carefully because if it goes with the [union's] Air Vanuatu issue and the UNELCO issue then that'll be a very big problem with the government."

Morkin Stevens says he will raise the matter with the Council of Ministers.