Authorities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital appear puzzled by a strike threat issued by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to call out junior doctors if their grievances are not settled by Saturday.
The union had expressed its dissatisfaction with physical conditions at the Martindales road facility, citing an air conditioning system, which it claimed, had been malfunctioning since September last year, and a lack of basic amenities such as proper ventilation for doctors’ living quarters.
It further insisted that QEH management fix all other outstanding issues, warning that failure to do so would result in doctors taking whatever action was deemed necessary to ensure the “offending” situation was rectified.
But in a statement which the QEH said was intended “to set the record straight” management said the concerns of the Junior Doctors Association (JDA) – hot water supply, air conditioning and security – were discussed over the past two months and were being addressed.
Management reported that the hot water supply was rectified two days after the April 29 meeting.
It acknowledged that the air conditioning unit had stopped working in February but said it would be back in full operation by this evening.
“A commitment was recently given to the NUPW to return the unit to service, and that work has been completed with the unit expected to be in full operation by this evening.”
With respect to security, management assured that concerns about the doctors’ lounge would “receive the requisite attention once the procurement process for the security upgrade has been completed”.
Earlier today, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) reiterated its intention to call out the junior doctors.
Acting NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith issued the ultimatum again, after meeting with customs officers and guards at union headquarters on Dalkeith Road, St Michael.
Smith said if the matters of unsatisfactory physical conditions and lack of basic amenities for the doctors were not dealt with by that time, “you will see another side to that department.
“We are hoping that some commonsense prevails.We don’t really want to go into action, but if the request is not satisfied by this coming Saturday, then you would see another side to that department.”
NUPW President Akanni McDowall called for full coverage of the matter by the media, pointing out that “when we have issues that affect public servants, regardless of where they stand in society, we want those issues to be covered and well covered by the media.
“That is something I would like to see going forward,” declared the NUPW president.
Meanwhile, the union officials also provided an update on concerns at the Psychiatric Hospital.
Industrial action has been looming at that hospital over the conditions of work.
Smith expressed concern that the more than 100-year-old mental hospital building had been showing its age. She said she looked forward to ongoing talks wth the hospital’s management on the issues submitted and hoped for a speedy resolution. (EJ/SD)