Ministry threatens to take action against protesting healthcare workers


The Ministry of Health has made it clear that it will take action against nurses and other healthcare workers who have been protesting for better pay and risk allowance.

A memo issued to all Regional Health Officers by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Collette Adams, threatened to take action against the workers who participated in “unauthorised” protests across the country.

“Please note that the Ministry takes these unauthorised industrial actions seriously and members of staff who have engaged in such activity will be dealt with according to the Public Service rules and regulations,” the Permanent Secretary said in the memo.

Several nurses and doctors have confirmed to the News Room that they received the memo.

Over 100 nurses supported by a few doctors from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) staged a protest action Friday morning on East Street in Georgetown for a 50% increase in salaries, risk allowances, pension, gratuities and other benefits.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Collette Adams

The protest comes after nurses in Linden, the West Bank and the West Coast of Demerara held similar protests on Wednesday and Thursday.

The nurses at GPHC threatened that if their demands are not met they will not be working. Their position is that since they are essential workers during the pandemic they should have essential pay.

The 2020 budget, which was passed in the National Assembly late Friday night, caters for $150M to pay risk allowance to healthcare workers.

The Permanent Secretary in her memo detailed that while several categories of healthcare workers, including nurses and Government Medical Officers, are entitled to risk allowance once they work in the infectious wards/units, the Ministry understands the need for additional remuneration for all categories of health workers who have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“RHOs are therefore advised to submit to their relevant accounting and personnel units a list of all members of staff who are currently considered at “Risk”…” Adams noted.

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