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President of the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) Idi Stuart.

Nurses are opting to take up the fight against the COVID-19 virus outside of the country’s borders.

The revelation was made by president of the Trinidad and Tobago registered nurses association, Idi Stuart, during an interview on CNC3’s The Morning Brew on Wednesday.

Stuart said front-line workers continued to grapple with challenging working conditions here at home and were now being lured by the promise of betterment abroad.

“There are a number of issues and it has actually led to an increase in nursing personnel leaving our shores. Some of our best and brightest are leaving Trinidad and Tobago for other territories, even other territories which have a higher rate (of COVID-19) going on right now, like England and the US.”

Stuart said the departure of nurses, some of whom were ranked as seniors, had created a worrying gap that was now being filled by junior staff.

“We are faced with a number of junior nursing personnel manning these high intensive care units and high dependency units. Really junior nurses who—when I passed out if you did not have ten years experience—when I passed out would have had little chance leading these units.”

Stuart said the government’s failure to take the necessary actions to preserve the pool of critical health workers was disappointing.

Stuart said despite intervention from both the Prime Minister and Minister of Health, several issues, including outstanding wage negotiations, remained unresolved.

He is warned that protests would continue if these matters were not addressed soon.