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Aug 20, 2021

Central Medical Lab Employees Won’t Work Weekends; but Why?

“Unfair, inconsiderate and simply distasteful” – strong words used by the Central Medical Laboratory in a letter sent today to the Ministry of Health and Wellness on the way overtime is being calculated.  On Thursday, a meeting was held with Central Lab employees on payment of overtime. The new proposed structure was reportedly presented by the Central Health Region Accounts Department. They’re saying they will no longer work on weekends and will work from nine to five from Monday to Friday only. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Central Medical Lab says that it has been delivering twenty-four-hour coverage for COVID-19 testing, working public and bank holidays and ensuring the availability of blood. Employees feel that it is a slap in the face because they are already on a ten percent salary cut and an increment freeze. The letter, for which News Five has obtained an unsigned copy, has been sent to the Deputy Regional Manager of the Central Health Region and copied to officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness. So what does that mean for COVID surveillance and testing? Earlier today when the media caught up with Health Minister Michel Chebat in Caye Caulker, he was asked about this.


Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness

“We are in a third wave. Unfortunately, the number of doctors and nurses in the country is very limited. And right now we need all hands on deck to provide proper health services to all our residents. And so, that is the situation we are faced with.”


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“In cabinet we discussed about the nursing issue, recognizing that our healthcare workers are stretched to the limit. We certainly appreciate what they are doing because it is a great sacrifice. Because of that alone, I think as citizens, we need to be more careful. We need to wear our mask, social distance and then get vaccinated, because they are reaching to their limit. We agreed in Cabinet that we will ask the Minister to try and bring in more people, to train some people, looking at those are already studying as nurses to help with the vaccination to get this done as quickly as possible.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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