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Saint Jude Workers Distressed!

By Kingsley Emmanuel
Image of the relocated St. Jude Hospital at the George Odlum Stadium.

STAFF of the St. Jude Hospital say the situation at the health institution as it relates to their general well-being is frightening and de-motivating.

According to the concerned staff, the hospital, which was relocated to the George Odlum Stadium after being destroyed by fire in 2010, is riddled with a myriad of problems that are becoming unbearable.

Image of the relocated St. Jude Hospital at the George Odlum Stadium.
The relocated St. Jude Hospital at the George Odlum Stadium.

Speaking to this reporter, some of the staff identified their major concerns as: tardiness in the re-classification process of their wage structure, the fast deterioration of the physical structure of the hospital (which one of them described as a “death trap”), as well as management’s alleged insensitivity to their concerns, inadequate medical supplies and equipment and “the manner in which appointments are made.”

However, despite their concerns, the staff are only complaining in hush tones, out of fear of being “victimized”.

A fleeting glance at some sections of the structure serving as a hospital, from any angle, reveals pieces of metal hanging precariously from the ceiling, which has been destroyed by the elements.

And a casual walk near the laundry will reveal an uncomfortable multitude of rats which have taken up residence in and around the perimeter of that department, located just about 10 to 15 metres from the main building.

A staff member, who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, said: “The hospital authorities are in the process of implementing a clocking-in system that will serve to accurately record the attendance of staff, which will depend solely on fingerprint identification.”

This, according to the staffer, will have security concern as it relates to the storage of information and the potential vulnerability of staff information.

They staff are also concerned about their own personal safety and security on the job. “Any time, somebody will get fatally injured by a piece of metal from the ceiling,” another staff member quietly told this reporter.

According to the second staff member, “On many occasions, I myself have witnessed pieces of metals crashed to the ground from the ceiling.”

During this reporter’s visit, nurses also expressed dissatisfaction with their level of representation by the St. Lucia Nurses Association.

One dissenting nurse described the association as a “waste of time,” claiming that it is “not taking care of our interest.”

She said as a result of their grievances against their association, the majority of St. Jude nurses had opted to be represented by the National Workers Union (NWU).

Another nurse recounted an incident involving a colleague.

She recalled, “She had need for emergency use of sanitary napkins while on duty and experienced quite some embarrassment getting herself properly cleaned because of a lack of proper washrooms for staff.”

Last month, in a press release, the NWU announced that the hospital’s nurses had joined it.

According to the union’s Southern Office Organizer, Leonard Prescott, the NWU is aware of the problems facing the workers of the relocated southern hospital.

“The nurses are frustrated. If the situation does not improve at all, our nurses will start seeking employment oversees,” Prescott said.

Despite several efforts by this reporter, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, Verna Charles, could not be reached for comments before press time.

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