QEH executive chairman clears air on hazard pay
Management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) today dismissed any notion that health care workers attached to the Martindales Road, St Michael facility have not been protected financially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital’s executive chairman, Juliet Bynoe-Sutherland, sent a statement to the media today to explain funds relating to hazard pay would become available this month, after a petition on social media warning of industrial action gained traction.
“We have become aware through social media of a petition circulating about the need for hazard pay for health care workers and a reported threat by an official of NUPW [National Union of Public Workers] to call a national sick out of health care workers this coming Wednesday.
“We wish to remind the public that the Government in November 2020 would have allocated supplementary funds for the payment of hazard pay to QEH frontline staff working at isolation centres, the Accident and Emergency Department, and the Emergency Ambulance Service. This supplementary was needed to replenish resources spent on COVID-19 and our projection of costs through to the end of the financial year,” she noted.
The statement added that by December last year, over $14.5 million in additional expenses had been spent in COVID-19 expenditure directly from the QEH budget to finance equipment and operations at Blackman Gollop, Harrisons Point and the QEH.
According to Bynoe-Sutherland, in anticipation of the receipt of available finances, the QEH had consulted with all of its trade union partners on the payment of hazard pay and staff were asked to await the injection of funds to make the necessary payments.
“The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance would have convened a meeting on Monday January 4, 2021, with the Ministry of Finance, Treasury and Ministry of Health. It has been indicated to the QEH by the Ministry of Finance that the awaited supplementary funds should be available no later than the middle of this month as national developments have slowed the pace of disbursal. In fact, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance hoped that they could have transferred the funds last Friday and we remain confident of its soon receipt to make the payment,” Bynoe-Sutherland added. (BA)