Home News GPHC nurses threatening strike action
– unless victimisation claims are investigated
Nurses at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) are threatening strike action and are calling on management to heed their pleas and take action as it relates to absenteeism and their victimisation by the acting Director of Nursing Services.
A group of nurses from the night shift spoke to this publication on the condition of anonymity as they feared losing their jobs and/or being victimised by those in authority.
Guyana Times understands that Keith Alonzo and Celeste Johnson are acting as the Directors of Nursing Services. The nurses complain that some of their colleagues would be regularly absent from work, especially on the night shift, and they would be required to take on additional responsibilities in conjunction with their own.
They related that they would have made several complaints to both Johnson and Alonzo, but were given no satisfaction. They explained that they were quite often threatened with being fired or reassigned to another ward.
“We want the [Chief Executive Officer] CEO to investigate this matter because we can’t continue working like this. Nothing is being done to those who are regularly absent and when we complain, they (Johnson and Alonzo) threaten to replace us,” a male nurse explained.
He added that the errant nurses were particularly from the Medical Surgical Blocks in the new wing of the Hospital and it was becoming tiresome. They are complaining that they are overworked and if they do not attend work, they are required to write a letter explaining their absence, to Johnson and/or Alonzo.
“Nurses who are scheduled to work on a certain ward on the night shift are reassigned to another department whether the nurse has experience in that area or not.
If you do not go, then you have to write a letter and see the Matron. It is not motivating to go to work and have to go work on a ward where you are not familiar with the patients and even medication…those instances can cause errors,” a female nurse lamented.
The group said they made several complaints to the former CEO, Allan Johnson, but no action has been taken ever since. They are calling for the acting CEO, George Lewis to heed their pleas and launch an investigation into the issue so that it could be resolved before it escalated into something that would affect the proper functioning of the institution.
In addition, several nurses are still under investigation for the missing pethidine from the Male Medical Ward a few weeks ago. On June 11, during the changing of the shift, it was discovered 10 vials of pethidine – a controlled painkiller under the Dangerous Drug Act – was missing. The missing drug was replaced by magnesium sulphate.
The GPHC Audit Department, in collaboration with the Security Department, launched an investigation into the incident, primarily focusing on the male nurses, since one of them was recently involved in another incident where EPO injections went missing.
This publication understands that 11 nurses (three males and eight females) along with the Ward Manager, Senior Departmental Supervisor and Junior Departmental Supervisor were all asked to provide internal management with statements regarding the incident. However, the probe has extended to include other officials within the medical institution.