The Minister of Health, Mr. Semano Sekatle says the government is exploring strategies to address the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH), and a decision will be taken on Tuesday’s Cabinet sitting.
Mr. Sekatle said the government has not gone silent on the matter but was exploring proper intervention strategies, until it came to a point where they had to declare a dispute, which he said the two sides are currently engaged in.
He, however, pointed out that there has not been any formal communication with the government of Lesotho through his ministry from Netcare about a dismissal of nurses.
He also said he is not aware that new employees have been recruited by the hospital management as he has not been made aware by the management.
The Minister said his investigations into the grievances of the fired health workers have confirmed that there is indeed some disparity in the salaries of the nurses with the same qualifications, experience and other credentials and that there is a gap between the government employed nurses and those employed by QMMH, with the latter generally earning less.
In his attempt to address the salary disparity between nurses employed by QMMH and the government, the Minister said QMMH said the government must foot the bill as it is a result of increments that were made in 2013, and in an initial contract signed by the parties, the government agreed to pay for unforeseeable conduct, which he (Minister) argues that wage increase does not fall under the category.
Mr. Sekatle acknowledged that the saga could boil down to the management structure which he commented the hospital partners comprises of five companies, and they are represented in the Board of Directors, but one of the companies, also heads the management of the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
He said this could put the company in a tight spot, and bring up a conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Mothepane Thahane, has told LENA that the hospital is currently running its operations with 109 nurses as it has already recruited temporary staff.
She said reports that 343 nurses have been dismissed from duties are untrue, saying the correct number is 265 following their failure to report to work for more than six weeks, which she said crippled the hospital’s operations and endangered patients’ lives.
A movement called #EndSlaveryAtTsepong delivered a petition which they claim to have been signed by 6000 Basotho to the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
Source: LENA 17/03/2021