Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony has welcomed the decision by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) to abandon their threat to authorise strike action by nurses over risk allowances, noting that it is a mature step to resolving concerning issues.
The decision is particularly well received as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister said.
“I am really happy that decision was made and that we will work to resolve whatever issues come up and we can do that in a very cordial way because all of us want the best for our healthcare workers and we have to work together to improve the system,” Minister Anthony told the DPI.
The nation remains grateful for the sacrifices and efforts of healthcare professionals to provide due care, particularly during the pandemic, the Minister said.
“I have really met some wonderful people during this short time who really go beyond the call of duty trying to make sure that patients are cared for. That’s what nurses and doctors and other healthcare professionals do,” he said.
Moving forward, Dr. Anthony said he expects cordial deliberations to take place as the Government continues to augment measures to ensure that healthcare professionals, and other frontline workers, are given the requisite gear to deliver the best service.
More than 250 health workers employed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, who work directly with COVID-19 patients have been receiving risk allowances.
The GPSU had expressed concerns that all healthcare workers were not benefiting from that allowance. However, in a joint interview on Friday with Minister Anthony, GPHC Chief Executive Officer Brigadier (Ret’d) George Lewis had said allowances were given to those who worked in the infectious diseases’ wards and psychiatric ward, in keeping with a circular issued by the Public Service Ministry in 2019.
Frontline healthcare workers also benefit from a raft of other provisions, including $150 million allocation for risk allowances and a $25,000 per household cash transfer grant in the Emergency Budget 2020.
Provisions have also been made, through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, to provide care for the children of frontline workers while on duty. These workers can also access the $15,000 per school child and $4,000 per school child uniform allowances catered for in the Budget, along with other provisions.
(Extracted and modified from DPI)