With the support of the majority of the Members of Parliament, the Nurses and Midwives (Registration) (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was read a second time and passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

The Nurses and Midwives (Registration) Act provides for the establishment of a Nursing and Midwives Council, which should maintain a Register of nurses and midwives and a Roll of Nursing Assistants, who satisfy the conditions for admission to the Register. The legislation also provides for the Certification of registration, staff and expenses, the protection of members of the Council, duties of the midwife in an emergency, the penalties for the unlawful assumption of title of Registered Nurse, the falsification of the Register and suspension.

Under the previous legislation, nurses were asked to register yearly. Prime Minister and Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, who moved the Amendment to the Bill in the National Assembly, said this was inconsistent with best practice.

“It is not the norm of practice around the region and internationally to have nurses register yearly. One would admit that it carries a financial obligation, that’s one. And secondly, it really does not enhance, in a sense, the proper flow and practice of such a noble profession,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.

The Amendment to the Bill now requires nurses to be registered every two years before the 31st day of December.

Prime Minister Dr. Drew indicated that the passage of this key Amendment is one of the critical steps being taken to enhance the nursing profession in St. Kitts and Nevis.

He added, “Today, I am very happy to be able to bring this matter with the support of the [Nursing and Midwives] Council, with the support of the Nurses Association, and with the support of the Ministry, the support of the leadership at the community level…to really show that they welcome such a change.”

The Nurses and Midwives (Registration) (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed in the presence of members of the Nursing Association, the nursing leadership in the Ministry of Health and at the JNF General Hospital, members of the health community and members of the Nursing and Midwives Council who sat in the gallery during Tuesday’s (March 07) sitting of the National Assembly.