Ongoing Health and Safety Issues for Health Care Workers during Covid-19 pandemic

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The Public Services Association (PSA), represented by Industrial Relations Officer (IRO), Jermima Brown, has stated that management of the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) continues to blatantly disregard the health concerns of their workers.

It has been ongoing that IRO Brown has been making interventions on behalf of the health care workers employed at the Sangre Grande Hospital, with regards to the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and faulty ambulances given to Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) to transport patients.

According to sources, given the rise in positive Covid-19 cases, EMT’s were assigned duties of transporting positive patients, however, several EMT’s have expressed that the ambulance given to them is too hazardous and threatens the safety of employees and patients. IRO Brown had recently implored that management addressed the issue of the faulty vehicles before an unforeseen road tragedy took place; to date, nothing has been done and the pronounced life-threatening ambulances are still given to EMT’s to transport patients over long distances. IRO Brown had also beseeched management of the ERHA to provide sufficient PPE for its staff.

She stated that there was an issue of no PPE being provided for persons who were not average in size. However, till date, no PPE has been provided. Sources stated that it was highly unfair that the workers risking their lives to protect patients were the very same workers not protected by their employers. IRO Brown stated that upon calling the Hospital Managers Office yesterday for an update, she was told that management was unavailable for comment. “Remove all vehicles that are not road worthy! Listen to the cries of the employees, before you have to be reactive and have an accident or an unforeseen road tragedy.

We are also asking management to deal with and procure the necessary PPE in all sizes immediately. Without proper protection, we are placing our members, at-risk, which in turn goes home to their families, who they place at risk. We are calling on the ERHA’s to do the responsible thing!” said IRO Brown.

Reporter: Melissa Goodman.