Linden nurses protest for removal of hospital’s CEO

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Some 120 nurses on Monday joined calls made by Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) officials for the removal of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) Rudy Small, over alleged “salacious” statements made to an online news agency.

The nurses and officials, armed with placards, picketed the office of the CEO on Monday chanting for him to resign from the post. The nurses, during the protest, chanted, “the CEO must go” and “we need justice”.

Regional Vice Chairman Douglas Gittens noted that Small again declined to meet with officials at his office on Monday. Gittens had also alleged that the CEO refused to meet with the team which sat in his office before protesting last Friday.

“He declined both the person from the Ministry of Labour and the Regional Chairman and Vice Chairman – a meeting to iron out views that we have,” Gittens said on Monday.

Gittens also alleged that the CEO “snuck out” of the building and left the hospital compound.

Gittens alleged that a letter was submitted to the CEO stating that he has no other choice but to resign from the post within 10 days.

“However, the Union and the hospital persons have come together and they have said that they are giving him until Friday to resign,” the Regional Vice Chairman said.

Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Regional Representative Maurice Butters was also present and addressed the protesting nurses.

Butters told this publication that the nurses are “mad with the CEO for the irresponsible statements” he has allegedly made.

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.