12 Apr 2012

CNMI could be facing a health crisis

7:00 am on 12 April 2012

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas could be facing a health crisis, with the health workforce dropping by nearly a quarter over the past few months.

17 nurses at the Commonwealth Health Centre have officially tendered their resignations in the last few weeks.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says the resignations have heightened fears of a staffing shortage at the hospital in coming months.

"To actually lose them, at the same time, not many want to come here anymore, because of what they're reading, we are looking at a health care crisis in the coming months, because of lack of nurses, lack of doctors. A few weeks back, we heard about three doctors leaving, and that's on top of the Commonwealth Health Centre having a shortage of doctors. So now it's the nurses' turn."

Mark Rabago says the main reason cited by many of the outgoing nurses is their desire to withdraw their retirement contributions, which can only happen if they leave government service.