Nurses want independent review

Friday November 02, 2018 Written by Published in Health
The suspended nurses say they will stand strong. 18102216 The suspended nurses say they will stand strong. 18102216

A lawyer representing 11 of the 13 nurses who were suspended by Health secretary Dr Aumea Herman last week, has filed a request for an independent review with Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas.


Ross Holmes of New Zealand-based Ross Holmes Lawyers, filed a 31-page request under Section 36 of the Public Service Act 2009 which deals with complaints and disputes.

The nurses, who were members of the South Pacific Nurses Forum organising committee, were suspended by Dr Herman on October 22.

She later lifted the suspension following a discussion with the Health minister Rose Brown, who reportedly asked Dr Herman to reverse her decision.

Dr Herman had alleged that the nurses did not follow the proper protocol at the opening of the forum which was held from October 15 to 18 at the National Auditorium.

Holmes said he had advised his clients to make no further statements to the media until the Public Service Commissioner had made his determinations on his request.

He said this was why his clients had not answered a number of “factually incorrect” statements which had been published in the letters to the editor section.

“The 19th South Pacific Nurses Forum was organised by a non-government organisation, the South Pacific Nurses Forum, who have organised 18 (previous) forums,” Holmes explained.

“The Cook Islands Nurses Association Committee were part of the South Pacific Nurses Forum organising committee, in their private capacities. They fundraised in their private capacities to pay for the costs of the forum.

“The Ministry of Health (and Minister of Health) are commended for supporting the forum. The Ministry of Health sponsored one dinner and paid nursing staffs’ wages while they attended the forum.”

Holmes said the Cook Islands Nurses Association Committee took, and followed, advice from the protocol officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said invitations to the forum were hand-delivered by nurses to all VIPs or their offices, adding some were apparently not handed to VIPs by their office staff.

“Elizabeth Iro (former Health secretary) in an interview on CITV news on the 19th South Pacific Nurses Forum, commended our clients for the organisation of the 19th South Pacific Nurses Forum, which in her opinion was well organised and ‘a huge success’.

“She also commended the Minister of Health and the Secretary of Health for their support of the forum. As chief nurse at the World Health Organisation, she (Iro) is the person best suited to making that judgment.”

Holmes, who is eligible to practice in the Cook Islands, is asking people not to reach conclusions regarding the matter until they are aware of all of the facts.

Meanwhile, Public Service Commissioner Thomas says the nurses have not laid any complaint regarding the matter with his office.

CINews then asked Thomas in an email if he had received any request for an independent review of the matter regarding the nurses’ suspension.

“I have nothing to tell you because I didn’t receive anything from the nurses,” Thomas replied.

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