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Jul 17, 2015

Ministry of Health C.E.O. Says Industrial Action Precedes Negotiation with Government

Peter Allen

Coming out of Thursday’s meeting, the staff of the KHMH is organizing a workers’ union and plans to negotiate on behalf of employees with the Board of Governors and government.  They demand an equal wage increase to be paid retroactively.

 

Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health

“I can certainly understand the staff’s requesting the same salary increases as other people doing similar jobs in the wider public service.  Equally, I think I can understand cabinet’s position that this clearly is an important function.  It’s clearly an institution that needs to be supported.  They do amazing things everyday but I think the figure that was approximately being used was around about two million dollars but it’s recurrent.  So it’s two million a year to the recurrent budget, so I think cabinet showed what I would characterize as reasonable caution to say yes, we understand but let us see how we can look at ways that Karl Heusner can serve the public even better than it does already.  There are some anomalies, just from what people say to us and what the staff says to us, it’s one thing to say that we want to increase revenues at Karl Heusner but I know that the staff will point out the fact that generally public officers, I don’t know if you’re aware, but they are only charged two dollars a day at Karl Heusner.  So it’s difficult to increase revenues if we continue to charge fees which are significantly lower than the actual cost of providing those fees.  Government, of course, continues to put forth funds around, well certainly in excess of twenty million dollars.  I think this year’s budget is increased to about twenty-four million dollars and certainly the people who pay those fees which in the end is all of us as taxpayers want to make sure that we are as effective as we can be.  I think that’s reasonable.  I know I’ll be going over to Karl Heusner now and I know the position from cabinet.  We have excellent staff at Karl Heusner and I think very reasonable people at Karl Heusner as well and I think there is certainly a process of constructive negotiation through which we can go in order to in the end make Karl Heusner an even stronger and even better institution.”

 

Reporter

“So from the public’s perspective, they want to know how long will my elective surgery be delayed or how long will my specialist clinic not be activated?”

 

Peter Allen

“Absolutely, and I would certainly concur with the public on that.  I myself use Karl Heusner as a patient and I would want to ask the same questions.  As I say, I am a little surprised that any action is being taken ahead of negotiations.”

 

According to Dr. Allen, government is prepared to sit down with K.H.M.H. representatives at the earliest opportunity in order to come to an amicable solution. But going into the meeting the industrial action is continuing.

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1 Response for “Ministry of Health C.E.O. Says Industrial Action Precedes Negotiation with Government”

  1. Al says:

    Sending strong message that they wont be waiting around for governments usual red tape. About time belizeans showing strength in numbers. Unfortunately, it will be us, the very citizens, that will be negatively affected by this service. or lack thereof. However, applaud the stand.

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