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  • Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is assuring health workers whose salary deductions have not be paid over to the relevant companies that the situation will be rectified.
  • Speaking at a Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, today (May 6), Dr. Ferguson said the Regional Health Authorities (RHA) have given a commitment to ensure that the payments are brought up to date.
  • He informed that in the case of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), payments up to March 2015 have been made.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is assuring health workers whose salary deductions have not be paid over to the relevant companies that the situation will be rectified.

Speaking at a Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, today (May 6), Dr. Ferguson said the Regional Health Authorities (RHA) have given a commitment to ensure that the payments are brought up to date.

“I have discussed the matter with Board Chairmen (of the RHAs) and have been assured that they are working to ensure that payments are consistently made on time,” he said.

He informed that in the case of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), payments up to March 2015 have been made, “and the Board Chairman has assured me that the region is moving with alacrity to make payments up to May, and thereafter, keep up to date with the deductions.”

The Minister, in the meantime, reiterated that no shift system will be implemented for doctors without full consideration of the recommendations of stakeholders in the sector.

He noted that the task force, set up to examine the delivery of medical care, including the way doctors practise, has not finished its work for a decision to be made.

The Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA) has opposed a proposal for the implementation of a shift system, which is aimed at improving efficiency, noting that this would result in less pay for doctors.

The Minister, while acknowledging the concerns of the doctors, said the present situation cannot remain in place. He said the long hours of work by doctors, threaten patient safety and the well-being of the physicians.

“There has to be a change in the future. I do understand the issues surrounding remuneration, and I have long said that doctors must negotiate a liveable wage, especially when you consider pension and retirement,” he contended.

The Minister assured, however, that all concerns will be reviewed in charting the way forward.

“I look forward to the engagement of all the groups towards an amicable and mutually beneficial solution,” he said.

On the matter of encounters between health workers and patients, the Health Minister said “discourtesies on both sides continue to worry the Ministry.”

He informed that “very soon” in the current financial year, consultations will be held with various health groups and stakeholders on the draft customer service policy for public health institutions.

Minister Ferguson also pledged that the Government will continue to improve the public health system, through the refurbishing of facilities and provision of equipment.