Minister with responsibility for the Public Service and Labour Honourable Virginia Albert-Poyotte, met with stakeholders on Tuesday October 26, 2021, to discuss unsettling matters associated with the transfer of staff from the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King European Hospital-OKEU which is housed within the Millennium Heights Medical Complex. One such concern relates to the secondment clause of the Millennium Heights Medical Complex Act. The relocation of staff from the Victoria Hospital to the OKEU took place in March of 2020, in order to allow for the conversion of the Victoria Hospital to the respiratory hospital.
Tuesday’s meeting sought to begin the dialogue with the new Minister for the Public Service and Labour and was attended by representatives of the Saint Lucia Nurses Association, Saint Lucia Civil Service Association, Attorney General’s Chambers, Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Millennium Heights Medical Complex Board of Directors, and the Departments of the Public Service and Labour.
“According to the contract signed by the employees who have moved across, they have agreed for an eight -year secondment. So they are asking what about their job security after the eight years and that is the concern that CSA has. I am understanding from Millennium Heights that the conditions that they have for their employees are better than what they had before but that is subject to individual views and perspective. So right now I am open to listen to all contending views and the Prime Minister and the Cabinet will take the matter beyond that,” the Minister said.
At Tuesday’s stakeholders’ meeting parties agreed to continue the dialogue in order to arrive at a consensual position which they will subsequently present to the Public Service and Labour Minister for onward submission to Cabinet. The Millennium Heights Medical Complex is currently at the third stage of the four transition stages. Minister Albert-Poyotte is of the view that the time has come for the institution to be piloted to the final phase. However, she said the current huddles must be addressed before that can happen.
The Public Service and Labour Minister has also responded to media queries with regard to the proposed Management of the Owen King European Hospital by Health City Cayman Islands Group stating, “We are still exploring what is in writing because the Minister for Health would be looking at the document and as I said, this is a new administration and this administration has its priorities and strategies. If what exists is in keeping with the policies and strategies of the Labour Party, we will go along with it. If it is not in keeping, the areas that need to be modified we will modify them and then do what is necessary in the interest of the people.”
The Millennium Heights Medical Complex comprises the Owen King European Hospital, National Mental Wellness Centre and Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre. The Complex is being managed by a Senior Management Team.