[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, has assured staff of the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital that he will make representation on their behalf to ensure they are comfortable and paid handsomely for the critical service they provide to the Guyanese population.
During a visit to the hospital on Wednesday, the Minister, accompanied by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Leslie Cadogan, and Deputy Permanent Secretary Trevor Thomas, told the staff that, “In many countries around the world you see people walking if they can’t get the job done…I want to assure you that if I can’t get your welfare in order, I will walk.”
The staff expressed many concerns regarding their working conditions. One of the issues raised by doctors is the condition in which they are forced to rest. The nurses’ complaint was that they were never paid overtime, while the technicians are claiming that the allowances are too small.
“I must be frank and say that I was embarrassed, totally disappointed. These are our young doctors…. They could have probably been an engineer or a lawyer, but they opted to become a medical doctor and having reached the stage where they are to be working under those condition is totally unacceptable… to hear doctors expressing gratitude to the Permanent Secretary for providing them with beds for them to sleep on tells you that the situation before was uncomfortable. It’s cramped, they have no toilet facilities, the microwave is not functioning properly, inadequate utensils, basic comfort lacking,” Minister Norton pointed out.
The doctors were commended for the enthusiasm and discipline they have demonstrated while working under unreasonable conditions. They also expressed interest in pursuing post-graduate studies.
Meanwhile, the concerns of the nurses at the hospital were similar to those all over Guyana, and according to Minister Norton, “we have got to decide on a system that they are comfortable with… we will have consultations to establish what is best for them… I am surprised to hear that some rule was made whereby they should not be paid for overtime and yet these nurses are offering to work beyond their shift.”
PS Cadogan explained that the issue of overtime is one that the region is responsible for, and promised that it will be looked into immediately.
Nevertheless, Minister Norton said that the New Amsterdam Hospital could be a model for many health institutions across the country, in terms of its structure (on one level), so that patients can ambulate easily and the wards are well positioned. He said that there are some areas that are cramped for space, for example, the dental area, and the theatre area that needs to be tiled. The staff was also commended for the hygienic condition of the hospital. [Extracted and modified from GINA]