Despite the strike action by some nurses in the healthcare sector, Government’s aim remains to make the condition of nurses comfortable.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley emphasised this at yesterday’s press conference at the Wildey Gymnasium while expressing concern on the strike.
She stressed the effort to make nurses comfortable was “because we accept and appreciate what they have done for the last 22 months, especially in this pandemic but before the 22 months what they have done to keep the wellness and health of this nation to a certain standard and will have to do going forward”.
Highlighting what Government had done to support the terms and conditions of nurses in the past three years, the Prime Minister said the figures clearly showed that between 2017 and 2019, and later, there had been 145 appointments.
Emphasising that nurses had also benefitted from the Amendment to the Public Service Act in October 2019 that allowed all persons acting temporarily in a position for three years to be appointed, she said pursuant to that, 206 nurses were, and four of them had their matters confirmed by Her Excellency, The President, when as Governor General, they made appeals to her under that legislation.
“So, that brought the number to 210 plus 145,” Ms. Mottley calculated, adding that yesterday (December 15) Government had indicated to the [Barbados] Nurses Association that if there remained any other sets or groups of nurses, their information should be provided so they could be investigated and dealt with in terms of their appointments and with respect to pay.
It was pointed out that because of the pandemic, Government also created 290 temporary posts to help deliver quality care at Harrison Point, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the health liaison officers, the COVID Monitoring Unit, the laboratory and the polyclinics. “Two hundred and ninety posts to the tune of $5.6 Million, a year,” the PM stressed.
Additionally, she said of the terms and conditions that the QEH had earlier this year agreed to hazard allowances and the National Union of Public Workers had also met with the Ministry of Health asking that that hazard allowance be extended to persons other than those working at the QEH, the Psychiatric Hospital and the Geriatric Hospital.
Prime Minister Mottley further noted that Government re-introduced flexi-pay for nurses and in the appropriate circumstances, since July, and with the advent of the Delta variant, overtime was reintroduced on top of that.