HEALTH Minister Dr Fuad Khan is calling on managers within the regional health authority to perform "proper performance appraisals".
He said this has become necessary to ensure that those who have become relaxed in their duties be disciplined, while those who excel are duly rewarded.
His call follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Public Services Association (PSA) and North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) on Wednesday night addressing various grievances by health workers at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
Speaking to reporters following the opening ceremony for the orientation programme for health care professionals from Cuba at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain yesterday, Khan said: "The board of directors at the North Central Regional Health Authority has looked at the memorandum of understanding and they have come to an agreement and they have indicated to me there is nothing wrong and they could sign it and I have directed them if they see there is nothing wrong in it let the CEO sign it and let the industrial action discontinue so we could start having patient care."
The PSA, incensed by the inaction of management to settle long-outstanding arrears and the NCRHA's decision to establish a public private partnership (PPP) at the facility, protested for more than a month using sick-outs.
Earlier this week, they drew up an agreement asking that the NCRHA complete computation and payment of allowances and benefits for eligible employees by December 15, and that remittance of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) be rectified with a list of affected employees to be submitted by November 30.
The agreement also includes an undertaking that health and safety issues at the hospital will be dealt with immediately; that the employer will begin to engage the union in the public private partnership programme in any area which it has interests in managing, and there will be a removal of disciplinary letters issued to employees during the period of industrial unrest which ended November 2.
Speaking yesterday, Khan said he has told "the board that the performance appraisal around the health sector is something that should not continue in the manner it has been going on".
"I want proper performance appraisals because if somebody is doing a poor job, and gets an excellent performance appraisal, it gives a problem to discipline. So I want proper performance appraisals so if you are not working you are going to be disciplined because I have signed the memorandum of understanding agreement, I am giving you what you want, you give me what I want now," he added.
And the Minister said he has begun visiting hospitals throughout the country to "gain firsthand knowledge" of how they operate, particularly in the area of customer service.
"I want to catch people on a regular day rather than telling them when I am coming and everything is spruced up nicely for the Minister."
Khan told the media that he recently visited Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and has found that "there is a lot to be done".
"I observed that the customer service needed to be upgraded; the attitude of staff towards the patient needs to be upgraded."
Something, he added, has begun with a series of customer service training seminars. See Page 24