MAJ wants details of welfare plan for healthcare workers

Dr. Andrew Manning and Carmen Johnson
The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is calling for details on the welfare plan unveiled for public sector health personnel involved in the COVID-19 response programme.
The plan, set to cost $37 million this financial year, is aimed at preventing staff burnout.
MAJ President Dr. Andrew Manning says while the plan is welcomed, the government should address staffing issues in the public health system. 
"In concept, we think it's a good move because definitely the healthcare staff are suffering burnout and that problem is going to get worse moving on, but we would also like more details. And we also need to recognise that the burnout has to do with the fact that we don't have enough hands on the ground and unless that is addressed in short, medium and long term, even with programmes like this, persons are still gonna suffer burnout," he suggested.  
The welfare plan includes mandatory rest days for staff who worked excessive hours; the release of COVID-19 test results for heath personnel within 48 hours; preferential rates in hotels and other facilities; and family support and counselling for those most impacted by COVID-19.
The Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) has also welcomed the welfare plan. 
NAJ President Carmen Johnson argued that nurses have been undergoing challenges due to the pandemic, which affect the way they function as well as their mental health, so the implementation of the plan should help them feel "much more comfortable, much more responsive because we'll get the feeling that our ministry really does care about us and what is happening to us."
Ms Johnson said it appears to be "a very good plan" which addresses the main concerns of the group. But she is hoping the government will quickly implement it and that "all members of the healthcare team will be able to participate." 
Several nurses have been complaining of burnout after being required to fill the void created by health practitioners going into quarantine.

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