The Ministry of Health and Wellness will be implementing a $37-million staff welfare programmer for the island’s health workers.
Speaking at the sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre on September 29, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the one-year initiative aims to bolster staff well-being in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said the five components of the programme are Human Resource Management, Staff Engagement and Communication, Rest and Relaxation, COVID Support, and Wellness.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that each component will be supported through collaboration with the private sector.
“The total cost of implementation is projected to be some $37 million in this financial year, with an additional $37 million being requested for financial year 2021/22”, he said.
The Minister noted that staff burnout is a major impediment to the COVID-19 fight “and as a Ministry we have heard the growing cries for increased intervention and we must respond”.
He said that among the benefits under the programme are mandatory rest days for staff, who would have worked excessive hours, and mandatory 48-hour results for COVID-19 tests; family support and counselling for those who are most impacted by the disease; and increased engagement with the management within the health regions and parishes to provide better support for staff.
Through partnership with the private sector, staff will also benefit from preferential rates at hotels and other facilities.