Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) Rudy Small has been removed from the post following days of protest by nurses and other officials in Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
They have been protesting for his removal after the CEO reportedly made “salacious comments” about the conduct of nurses, especially those on the nightshift.
Regional Representative of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Maurice Butters told media operatives that, during a meeting this morning, the Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr Gregory Harris informed of the removal of the Linden Hospital CEO.
Butters said the RHO relayed that he received a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, informing of the CEO’s removal.
“At that meeting, he showed us an email of a letter stating that Mr Small, the CEO is no longer employed at the hospital. They would have removed him immediately”, Butters said.
Butters explained that the issue was addressed at an Executive Council meeting last week and representation was made in this regard.
“Last Friday, at our executive meeting in Georgetown this matter was reported to our Executive Council. Immediately we made that report, the President of the Union had a letter dispatched to the Minister and to other stakeholders, including the hospital and Regional management calling for the immediate removal of the CEO”, Butters said.
“We even went as far as to get our attorney involved, to examine the tape that was made and whether they’re any legal action we can take. The response was yes we can take legal action against him…So that letter was dispatched and the Nurses decide that they were going to come out in protest against him for his removal because they would have lost confidence in him”, Butters said.
The protest has continued into today, but Butters said he wants the letter of removal sent to the President of the Union who will then instruct that the nurses to end the industrial action.
“So we are now waiting on that correspondence”, Butters said. Calls to the RHO and the Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry went unanswered.
Meanwhile, the nurses stood outside the Office of the CEO as they continued to register their concerns.
“For me, this is deep and then for him to hurl such remarks. All my years in nursing I have never ever heard anyone hurl such remarks. Right now here are nurses that are living in some very abusive relationships, there are nurses that are the breadwinner of the home. Right now, that creates conflict. It is not easy for us as nurses, and for me he needs to go to court for defamation of character”, one nurse said.
Meanwhile, the CEO in a statement issued via a press release issued on Friday said in mid-February, a reporter from an online news agency which he named, inquired into the reason why the Linden Hospital Complex requested budgetary funding for the introduction of an Electronic Timekeeping System. He said he explained that among the several challenges the Linden Hospital Complex experiences a situation whereby a small number of staff members is signing in to work and then disappearing until the end of their shifts. He said he further explained that it is the strong belief of the Linden Hospital management that the Electronic Timekeeping System would make it more difficult for staff members to leave their shifts for long periods of time.
“At the end of the interview, off the record, the reporter and I engaged in casual banter. During that off-record conversation, certain popular rumours relating to the issue of disappearing staff members were highlighted. Those rumours have nothing to do with the introduction of a timekeeping system at the hospital,” the CEO explained.
“These rumours relating to behaviour of nursing staff have been part of the folklore in this community long before my arrival as the CEO of the Linden Hospital Complex. I was shocked and mortified when I subsequently was informed of a FB post by the reporter which has been circulated widely. In this post, the reporter added salacious commentary alleging certain inappropriate behaviour of nurses led to the decision to introduce an electronic timekeeping system. At no time in the formal interview did I ascribe the need for a timekeeping system to be related to the rumoured behaviour of nurses or any other staff,” the CEO noted in the letter.
He added in the letter that the hospital management has faced the challenge of tardiness and staff members not completing their shifts.
According to the CEO, as Head of the management staff of the Linden Hospital, he has an obligation to stem the problem. “Doing nothing is irresponsible. While the management has a responsibility to ensure staff members report on time for work and complete their shifts, their personal lives are not the responsibility of management,” he said.