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Penn tackles recurring issue of late payments to hospital staff

Penn tackles recurring issue of late payments to hospital staff

Health Minister Marlon Penn is assuring residents that he is working assiduously towards fixing the problem of late payments for staff at the BVI Health Services Authority.
“One of the things that I’ve done after becoming minister is to cut back on this issue of the staff not being paid,” Penn told reporters at a recent press conference.

According to the Health Minister, there was an issue previously in terms of the subvention assigned to that entity.

“I got confirmation from the Minister of Finance and the Acting Financial Secretary that the subvention is up to date as of [June 24], and I want to make sure that it’s clear that we got that confirmation,” Penn added.

Penn noted that this was necessary to ensure that the Authority at least gets the funds that are required for it to run its operations. He added that deficiencies can be examined and improved after this has been done.

“I am not one that makes excuses. I believe that if there’s a problem, we need to fix the problem. And the PS (Permanent Secretary) and I and the team have jumped right into it and said ‘look, let’s assess where we are in terms of the Health Service Authority’,” Penn said.

The minister further noted that there was a need for an assessment as to what needs to be addressed in terms of the ‘broken’ relationship between the BVIHSA, and the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

The Health Minister also spoke about the need for an assessment of the physical plant at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital (DOSH), and remedying any perceived deficiencies in that area.

“We’ve developed the RFP to look at the physical plant at the hospital and the deficiencies and what needs to be addressed in terms of the physical plant as well as the overall running of the institution,” Minister Penn said.

He added: “We’re looking at how we can address those deficiencies and improve the efficiency of the organisation. So, we’ve jumped right into it. We are doing the assessments that are necessary with a clear vision in a way forward for addressing those issues.”

Penn also addressed complaints surrounding the issue of deficient equipment at the DOSH, and noted that steps have already been taken in this regard.

“We’ve made some immediate steps to get the infrastructure up and running the key critical infrastructure up and running but, like I said, we’re doing a comprehensive review of that entire physical plant and then we’ll have a better grasp on what are the issues and how do we move forward from that,” he stated.
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