–increase moves from $500- $5000

WEEKS after nurses attached to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), participated in industrial action in an effort to send a strong message that it is time they receive sufficient risk allowances, the Government of Guyana has announced that nurses and other medical practitioners would benefit from an increase in risk allowance from $500 to $5000.
Speaking to some of the nurses, they expressed appreciation that the government has listened to their cries and pacified the situation with the announcement.

Trained mental health nurse attached to the Mental Health Institution at the LHC, Tricia McKenzie, said she thinks the increase is a good move and expressed thanks to government for providing same. “We are happy for the risk allowance because we never had it before and we are happy about it and we welcome it, compared to $500 that other nurses were receiving in other parts of the country; we welcome it, it is a new venture, it is a good initiative” she said.

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A few weeks ago, Region 10’s Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), Industrial Relations Officer, Maurice Butters, said that mental health nurses are at great risk in dealing with psychiatric patients and are in need of financial coverage in the event of being injured or attacked by a patient.

Registered Nurse, Tiffany Bayley

Registered Nurse, Tiffany Bayley, also expressed similar sentiments and said it is a good initiative and it is highly appreciated. “Nurses put their lives at risk everyday when dealing with patients, whether in the hospital or on a transfer to Georgetown, and I think it is a good move which can motivate nurses regardless of the odds. I am happy that they are taking our efforts into consideration and it is definitely a form of motivation,” she said.
Butters, in an invited comment, said that the allowances are long overdue and much needed by the medical staff since they work under dangerous circumstances. Only last Sunday, a LHC nurse, Eon Reddock, was laid to rest after the ambulance he was in, which was transporting a patient to Georgetown, collided with a motorcar. After his death, calls were made for the allowances to be given, in addition to insurance for nurses.

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Butters said that in addition to the increased allowance, the government should put in place some kind of addendum for when nurses are injured or in the worst case scenario, killed. “The allowance is good, but we must have some kind of addendum if they are injured, their medical bill and so forth, must be taken care of,” he said.

This was echoed by Nurse Mackenzie, who can be considered a high-risk nurse. She said while the $5000 is appreciated, more must be in the pipe line for nurses and other medical practitioners.

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President David Granger, last week, announced that health care workers, such as doctors and nurses, will enjoy an increase in their monthly allowances. Station allowances will be increased from $2,800 to $10,000; Hinterland allowances will be increased from between $4,000 and $12,000 to $24,000. Risk allowance will be increased from $500 to $5,000. Uniform allowance for health sector workers will be increased from $13,000 and $22,135 to $15,000 and $30,000 respectively, and on-call allowance for doctors will also be increased. Meal allowance will also be increased to $8,000.

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