Legislation governing employment at new hospital discussed

(GIS) – During a recent sitting of the House of Assembly, the Parliament discussed an amendment to the Millennium Heights Medical Complex Bill.

The legislation provides for the establishment of a board, which is responsible for the overall management and administration of the medical complex—including employment.

Under the Act, anyone seeking employment at the medical complex would no longer make that application through the Ministry of the Public Service, but through the administrative apparatus of the medical complex, and be subjected to the conditions of employment therein.

Based on the Pensions Act Cap 15.26, the use of the word, transfer does not encompass a movement as that envisaged in the Medical Heights Complex Act. Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet said the Millennium Heights Medical Complex bill amendment seeks to cure any ambiguity by deleting any reference to the transfer of a public officer to the Millennium Heights Medical Complex; and to only make reference to the secondment of that public officer.

“My understanding with regard to transfer, is an act that can take place within the Public Service within government. I can transfer someone from Commerce to Tourism. You cannot transfer a public servant outside of the public service. The purpose of being seconded is to be able to preserve your pension,” the prime minister explained.

He added that there is no intention by his government to privatize the Owen King EU Hospital.

“Again, I want to dismiss any notion that there is anything sinister. I want to repeat the intention by my government to not privatize the EU hospital. The consultancy is simply to strengthen our local work base. Furthermore, in order to protect the rights of the workers we must take away the word ‘transfer’ because it does not apply in this case, and we must make sure they are all seconded. When they are seconded, they are the responsibility of the Millennium Heights Medical Complex. If anything happens they can come back to the public service. That is the purpose of the secondment, as well as to preserve their pensions.”

The Millennium Heights Medical Complex includes the Owen King EU Hospital, the National Mental Wellness Center, and the Turning Point Rehabilitation Centre.

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