Cannot get transfer from Ministry of Health

Dear Editor,

I am a registered nurse who was working at the Moruca District Hospital for almost 2 years. However, I was transferred back to my home town Mackenzie, Linden to begin the midwifery nursing course on the 3rd December 2012. After three months on the midwifery course I quit the programme on the 27th February 2013. As a result, I was unable to resume duty at the Moruca District Hospital in Region 1 because my parents who were the guardians for my son were leaving the country. I also had to be the caretaker for my sickly sister who is confined to a wheelchair after an accident, and as such I had to take up the responsibility of my family and was only able to function as a nurse within my district.

Nevertheless, after quitting the midwifery nursing course I became ill and I was on 28 days sick leave to recuperate. After completing my sick leave I was still unable to return to my duties as a registered nurse at the Moruca District Hospital because of my personal obligations. As a result, I found it in my interest to seek advice from the Ministry of Health. There I was told to seek a transfer to a hospital within Linden that would allow me to attend to the responsibilities I am carrying.

I applied for a transfer on the 7th May 2013 directly through the Ministry of Health with the endorsement signature of the Regional Health Officer for Region 1 at the time clearly outlining the reason for requesting the transfer. After handing in the letter of request I was informed by two senior personnel within the ministry that the request would be processed and I would be contacted. After a few days passed, I contacted the ministry and was informed that my sick leave and request letter had been misplaced. As a result, I once again reapplied for the transfer with the endorsement signature from the RHO. Consequently, I was informed that the letter had to follow the approval chain within the management of the ministry and I would be contacted subsequently.

Surprisingly, after waiting for almost a month for a reply from the ministry I received a letter dated 3rd June 2013 headed “Unauthorized Absence from Duty” saying that I should respond with a letter to the Ministry of Health with an explanation of my absence and why my services should not be terminated. Immediately after receiving this letter I wrote a letter addressed to the ministry explaining my situation and also indicating that I was ill, and I had already applied for a transfer prior to this letter. Moreover my sick leave had already been handed into the ministry and had been misplaced. Thereafter, I attended several meetings to resolve the problem and no disciplinary action was taken against me. Again I was informed that the ministry would contact me shortly. In addition I did not receive any salary from May 2013 even though my services were not terminated nor a suspension letter issued to me.

Ever since February 2013 I have been calling the ministry every month speaking to everyone in authority who is supposed to be looking into my situation, and all I am hearing is that “We are looking into the matter and we will call you.” In January 2015 I was asked to visit the ministry for a meeting after sending a letter to the ministry explaining how frustrated and financially unstable I am in relation to this situation, and again I was informed that the ministry would contact me in a few days.

To date it has been two years since I have been home and unemployed as a registered nurse, and I am still awaiting a transfer by the Ministry of Health to the Linden Hospital complex. Technically I am still functional as a registered nurse since my fees have been accepted by the General Nursing Council to update my nursing status as of 2015.

I cannot be employed privately since my contract is still active with the government, and as such I am very frustrated.

Throughout my nursing career I have always respected my seniors and have not displayed any form of insubordinate behaviour in my work environment or any form of political or racial partiality that may have caused me to feel as though I am being victimized by the Ministry of Health. My initial goal is to complete my contract with the government and continue serving my country as a Registered Nurse.

I am still very interested in continuing my career as a Registered Nurse and as such I wish the Ministry of Health would conclude this process and declare if my services are still needed, other than have me expecting to resume duty as a Registered Nurse (RN# 0173) after two years and counting.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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