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Resolution 8: Demanding Standards and Quality in Health Care Provision

30 November, 2012

The 29th World Congress of Public Services International (PSI), meeting in Durban, South Africa, on 27-30 November 2012


Guyana as a member state of ILO has ratified ILO Convention 149.


The government of Guyana is obligated under ILO Convention 149 and has obligations under this Convention to ensure that the basic requirements regarding nursing education and training and the supervision of such education and training shall be laid down by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority or competent professional bodies, empowered by such laws or regulations to do so.


Nursing education and training shall be coordinated with the education and training of other workers in the field of health.


National laws or regulations shall specify the requirements for the practice of nursing and limit that practice to persons who meet these requirements.


that measures shall be taken to promote the participation of nursing personnel in the planning of nursing services and consultation with such personnel on decisions concerning them, in a manner appropriate to national conditions.


The determination of conditions of employment and work shall preferably be made by negotiation between employers’ and workers’ organisations concerned.


The settlement of disputes arising in connection with the determination of terms and conditions of employment shall be sought through negotiations between the parties or, in such manner as to ensure the confidence of the parties involved, through independent and impartial machinery such as mediation, conciliation and voluntary arbitration.


The Ministry of Health has the responsibility to ensure that quality health care services are provided to the citizenry of this country through its health care personnel. Therefore, adequate and proper attention should be given to training facilities and conditions under which these trainings should be conduction.


The Guyana School of Nursing, over the years, has been operating under appalling conditions where tutors and the nurse trainees are forced to conduct classes in an unsuitable environment viz:

  • Over 500 students in the school with both males and females forced to share eight (8) sanitary facilities during a 15 minutes break and one (1) hour lunch period;
  • There are only four (4) full time tutors for the professional programme, including retirees who most likely were rendering a service to their noble profession because of their care and concern; resulting in as many as 100 nurse trainees being in a classroom at the same time with only one tutor;
  • Because of the limited space/accommodation students were taken in groups of 12 to the practical room for practicals, the single tutor assigned to the groups for this purpose became exhausted after dealing with about three groups;
  • Classroom seating, ventilation and personal space were inadequate to accommodate numbers in excess of 100 students, and this was compounded by a public address system, of a single speaker, which was inaudible to many students;


Because of the large size of the class examinations have been diluted. Even with this diminution, students progressed to other subjects without knowing whether they passed or failed the previous ones.

Further NOTING

There are overcrowding in clinical areas (wards and clinics of the hospitals) which impeded effective communication and compromised the teaching/learning process. As a result, there was no proper supervision and evaluation of the student nurses, who spend 2 weeks, instead of the required one (1) month rotation period, in the clinical areas; not every student nurse gets to rotate to all of the departments (especially the Intensive Care Unit, High Dependency Unit, Ear, Nose and Throat Department; Eye Clinic, and Paediatric Care Department) in the hospital, so as to gain the required knowledge and experience.


That notwithstanding this overcrowding and undesirable situation the Ministry of Health intends to add another batch of student nurses (in excess of 100 to the nursing school).


The Guyana Nursing Association and the Guyana Public Service Union urging the Ministry publicly not to proceed to take this action.


That at the Intermediate State Examination for second year student nurses there was an 80% failure rate of students who took the exam.


That without regard to these developments the Ministry of Health is going ahead with its plans to admit another batch of nurse trainees to the institution and causing further congestion at the nursing school regardless of the implications for the students and tutors who have both expressed to them their displeasure and discomfort with what they are experiencing.


The dangerous and devastating consequences this situation would result in to health care in Guyana which is already very compromised with the exodus of many competent health care providers.


All affiliates to support the Guyana Nurses Association and the Guyana Public Service Union’s efforts to ensure proper training for nurses in a conducive environment.


The General Secretary to express PSI Congress’ concerns and desires for conformity to health standards in keeping with government of Guyana’s obligation under ILO Convention 149 to the government of Guyana and to bring this matter to the attention of International Labour Organization, World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization.

See all Congress resolutions including the Program of Action and the Constitution.


Also see