Health minister deems timely pay for hospital staff an ‘urgent matter’

Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph said he would be meeting with the Ministry of Finance with a view to resolving the problem urgently.

“That is an urgent matter actually. It is a recurring problem and I have asked for a meeting with the Ministry of Finance to see what we can do to eliminate this problem,” he told OBSERVER media.

The fortnightly paid workers have not only taken to the airwaves to register their complaints, but have sent numerous written complaints to OBSERVER media chronicling their payment issues over the last six months.

One disgruntled employee who emailed this media house said, “There are delays up to about 30 days for persons to get paid. New party is in, there is no protest on the streets, but come into the hospital, and talk to one of the workers, and you would either get a smirk or casual sigh, because this has become a norm. Unacceptable.”

There have also been complaints that doctors and nurses have been forced to work extended hours without sufficient compensation, an issue that has been exacerbated by inadequate staffing.

The workers also accused the hospital administration of maintaining “plush” salaries and quarters while the employees are left to “dwindle”.

Minister Joseph did not disclose when the meeting with finance officials is scheduled to take place nor did he predict a date whereby he hoped that the matter would be resolved.

Meantime, one worker who goes by the alias “Antiguan eye” said, on returning home, doctors who are trained in Cuba and other scholarship territories “are met with absurd realities of medical politics of Antigua and Barbuda”.

The author of the complaint charged, “Instead, the internship in Antigua and Barbuda has been filled with mostly foreign medical doctors, while local doctors must either go to other countries — Grenada, St Lucia, Jamaica or even at times just return to Cuba.”

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