Chief Operations Officer of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), Pat Malone-Smith disclosed on Tuesday that a number of the students who were given scholarships for nursing programmes did not return to give service to the Territory.
The disclosure was made on October 29 as Malone-Smith and Chief Executive Officer of the BVIHSA, Ronald Georges, were guests on the Honestly Speaking programme with Claude Skelton-Cline.
The comment, which was endorsed by Georges, was made in response to a question about the staff complement at the BVIHSA.
The host of the show queried about the percentage of Virgin Islanders at the facility and the composition of the nurse and doctor complement as it relates to Virgin Islanders and expats.
Malone-Smith, after stating that 70 percent of the hospital’s nurses are expats, said that she noted that persons are not returning to the BVI after receiving training on the public’s dime.
“When I first came home in 2009, we had sent 28 young ladies out for schools to become nurses; five came back…We paid for 28 – five came back,” the BVIHSA Chief Operations Officer highlighted.
In weighing in on the subject of absconding scholarship recipients, the CEO said that the enforcement of return is not within the ambit of the BVI Health Services Authority.
When asked if the investment made to educate these persons was at least retrieved, Georges said, “That’s not us, that’s Ministry of Education that deals with the scholarships and I think Social Security Board. Generally speaking, Social Security Board when they send folks out and they don’t come back, they're calling them up."
On another note, the CEO said that the BVIHSA has a staff complement of 690 and 51 percent of the figure are BVIslanders.
He further pointed out that in the area of doctors and nurses, there will be a high percentage of nonbelongers.
“That’s simply because we just don’t have the number of BVIslanders to fill those positions,” Georges explained.