By Vanessa Braithwaite
Nursing Members attached to the St John’s Ambulance Brigade on Wednesday and Thursday, protested the move by the Management of the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), to not renew the organization’s contract, which will automatically leave them unemployed. The Ambulance Brigade has served the Hospital for several decades
Several Nursing Members held placards in front of the Office of the Regional Chairman and LHC, protesting the move, which they described as discriminatory and inhumane during a pandemic. They braved the heat of the sun and chanted, “Who Gon Hungry?” “Who Gon Suffer?” “Our Children”. The Nursing Members told INFO 10 that they decided to take to the streets, since they would have served the organization for many years and that they have many financial obligations to honour. Some were employed at the Organization for over two decades.
They are calling on the relevant authorities including the Minister of Health , Dr. Frank Anthony and President Irfaan Ali to intervene, so that their jobs can be saved.
While LHC has no legal obligation to renew the contract, the Nursing Members are calling on the authorities to employ them at the hospital, since they already possess the experience as ambulance attendants. “Give us something, even if is lil cleaning work.” “We are single parents, we have bills to pay, we have children who are writing CXC and most of all in the height of the pandemic, they tried to dismiss us,” Nursing Member Vanessa Williams who has over five years of service, told INFO 10.
Another Nursing Member who has served for 12 years, said she has four kids and she is a single mother. “My eldest is 12, right now it doesn’t have work nowhere, you have to pay rent, light bill, water bill, internet, Courts, Bolo, so when the fortnight reach and we in pay these things, how my children eating,” the visibly frustrated mother said.
The Nursing Members met with Regional Chairman, Deron Adams and other regional officials to voice their plight. Adams said while the Management is not duly obligated to renew the contract, his job is to make representation for the employees to remain employed. He wrote to the Minister of Health and other senior officials concerning the situation and is awaiting a response. He also engaged the Regional Health Officer (RHO) and put forth a recommendation for the employees to be hired by the Department of Health.
While all efforts to reach the Chief Executive Officer of LHC Mr. Rudolph Small on the issue proved futile, this media entity was told by a senior staff, that the contract was not renewed because the hospital is overstaffed and, in an effort to be cost effective, Patient Care Assistants (PCA), will be trained to perform the duties of the ambulance attendants.