In April 2020, a decision was made by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to offer an honorarium to nurses on the frontline caring for COVID-19 patients. Since then, our hospital has been working on putting a system in place to enact this policy.
However, like all other hospitals, we are not immune to the ever-escalating healthcare costs and all of the other pressures associated with operating a healthcare facility, especially during this time. This was one of the main reasons for our delay in starting the process of payment.
The payment criteria put in place by the hospital required a nurse to work a minimum of thirty-two hours in order to receive the allotment of $1000 monthly. We have since realized the inequities in the process and are taking the necessary steps to address. Moving forward, all nurses working with COVID-19 patients will receive a $1000 pay incentive. Nurses who have received less than the $1000 will be paid the shortfall retroactively.
“We have always been and continue to be committed to ensuring that our team – nurses and all others – are supported. We are making every effort to be as inclusive as we possibly can,” said Dr. Albert Duncan, MSJMC Medical Director. “This means that other members of our team such as our orderlies and technicians will also be eligible for this pay incentive. They are all shouldering an incredible burden as well as increased risks to their emotional and physical health.”
“All of our nurses are valued employees and we recognize their service and commitment to patient care,” said Jacqueline Jno-Baptiste, MSJMC Director of Nursing. “Throughout this entire crisis they’ve been on the frontlines at high risk and high exposure and we’re all grateful. We are committed to resolving matters that are of concern to them.”
The pay incentive is for a period of one year, commencing 1st March 2020. All eligible MSJMC employees will be paid $1000 retroactively for this period.
Added Dr. Duncan, “Delays send the wrong message, and we want to apologize to not just our nurses but our entire team for this. We recognize the urgent need for these funds as well as the length of time it has taken to distribute. We are confident that the employees will begin to receive payment in short time.”