Nurses on the night shift in the Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) called in sick on Friday evening leaving the units in a state of chaos.
It was reported that these critical units were under great strain as the administration of the hospital grapple to find replacements to serve patients who were in dire need for medical attention.
When contacted, a hospital official said that the status quo of the emergency units was in confusion.
The official, however, commended the staff who were at the time trying their utmost to assist patients, adding that they were stretch thin on resources.
Nurses and other health care workers have been protesting over the past week for risk allowance.
However, their protest started mere days before the National 2020 budget, which has a $150 million risk allowance allocation for them, passed. This prompted Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony to question the true motive for the protest when the government has already begun the process of giving them the risk allowance.
Dr Anthony explained that even before the nurses started protesting, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government had set aside $150 million in the budget for frontline workers. This is a measure they had announced. He said that not only have the nurses’ protests for risk allowances been premature but it is also illegal.
Nurses from the GPHC have been led by several A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change members and Guyana Public Service Union officials in their protests. Protests have also taken place in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Meanwhile, the management of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on Friday evening in a statement said 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 healthcare workers of the GPHC in contravention of the Public Utilities Undertaking and Public Health Service Act Chapter 54:01.
“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,” GPHC said in its statement.