GPHC says no need for strike as nurses’ concerns were being addressed
See below full statement issued by GPHC:
The Management of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) wishes to advise that it received a correspondence dated September 30, 2020 from the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) which sought to legitimise its illegal protest action involving nurses and other health care workers of the Corporation over the last week, in contravention of the Public Utilities Undertaking and Public Health Service Act Chapter 54:01.
The administration wishes to thank all staff members who continue to provide quality, efficient and equitable care to our patients. We remain deeply concerned that amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic some health care workers have resorted to industrial action, which will have a negative impact on health care.
The Corporation wishes to state since the evolution of the pandemic in Guyana it has been working directly with the Doctors and Nurses Branch and GPSU to improve benefits for all workers, particularly those directly involved in the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients. Towards that end on April 3, 2020, the Administration met with the Doctors and Nurses Branch and GPSU to discuss and resolve issues which they claimed were affecting healthcare workers emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the conclusion of that meeting amicable agreements were reached and the following were initiated:
- Providing appropriate training to all staff members to combat the COVID-19 virus;
- Providing transportation to take employees to and from work;
- Paying risk allowances to all staff members who are directly involved in the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients in accordance with Circular Memorandum PS: 20/19 dated December 12, 2019;
- Providing adequate and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
- Providing psychological support to employees who are affected by the COVID-19 virus;
- Providing meals and beverages to employees directly involved in the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients and at COVID-19 screening/triage sites;
- Continued payment of salary to employees who are on extended sick leave due to COVID-19;
- Providing care packages to employees who are affected by COVID-19;
- Providing free housing to staff members who perform duties in the COVID-19 Isolation Intensive Care Unit (IICU).
The Corporation continues to take steps to ensure that our staff perform their duties in a safe environment, and adequate and appropriate PPEs are provided to them. Consequently, the accusation of workers not having adequate PPEs, being asked to take their PPEs home for cleaning, and recycling of PPEs are absolutely without merit.
Management, while it regrets the loss of life of two healthcare providers, is horrified by the insinuation within the GPSU’s letter that two healthcare workers from the GPHC died from COVID-19. Such an uninformed statement was most unfortunate. Please be advised that neither of those two healthcare workers who died were our employees.
The GPHC cannot comprehend the GPSU’s posture in threatening industrial action when the matters raised in their letter have been and continues to be addressed.
The Corporation remains committed to timely and constructive engagements to consider the requests of our healthcare workers and strongly advise them to refrain from accepting inappropriate advice and abandoning their duties to support further illegal protest action until every avenue provided for in the relevant legislation is exhausted.
The management of the GPHC assures all healthcare workers that every effort will be made to ensure that they are supported, protected and appreciated for their hard work and dedication.