Taxi drivers across Jamaica are being warned by Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton that the Government may confiscate their licences if they continue to bar nurses from accessing their services, due to fear that COVID-19 may be transferred to them and other passengers.
Though the minister noted that in another day or two, five buses will be dedicated to transporting nurses to and from work, he has demanded that taxi operators desist from the practice.
Minister Tufton said reports from the Nurses Association of Jamaica are that some taxi operators in Manchester, St Ann, Trelawny, St James, Westmoreland and Kingston have been leaving healthcare workers stranded.
“If the practice becomes continuous, then we may need to take action otherwise. These people run taxis and they need licences. If they are actively refusing to carry out essential services to our workers, at an important period of time when we need the public health system to be responding, then those who are involved could lose licences if the practice becomes sufficiently widespread,” Tufton told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.
The minister is assuring the public that nurses take extra precautionary measures when carrying out duties, as their safety and that of patients is paramount.
He added that, “We are looking at the extent to which the respective hospitals can give some support to transporting our nurses to central points. We have solutions in terms of our own programmes, but at the same time, taxi drivers should not refuse our nurses access.”