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'Don't abuse hospital workers'

Monday, December 23, 2013    

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CHAIRMAN of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) Lyttleton Shirley has appealed to members of the public to refrain from assaulting health workers when under stress.

Shirley's appeal followed a recent brawl between a member of staff and relatives of a patient at the Kingston Public Hospital, which saw an orderly receiving bruises. The worker was injured following an altercation with two visitors to the hospital who reportedly got upset after seeing their relative in an "unacceptable state". All three were subsequently taken into custody and an investigation launched by the hospital.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, Shirley said a meeting has since been held with all stakeholders — the trade union representatives, staff, senior management — to get information about the incident.

He said that both parties agreed not to press charges, so it was no longer a police case but said it was still likely tht disciplinary action could be taken against the worker involved.

"...We are now doing a full investigation and we will let the union representative know, based on the result of the investigation, whether disciplinary action would be taken against the staff," said Shirley. "In that interim, I want to plead to the public that they cannot go to our institutions and assault our staff. It is just not permissible; we will take strong action...," Shirley warned.

"At the same time, we are asking our staff not to engage in situations that will put them and other members of staff at risk; where they are confronted [they should] call for assistance from our security and not to create an altercation," said Shirley.

He added: "While we are pleading to the public, we are going to be doing some refresher courses with our own staff to enlighten them as to the serious consequences of their conduct, whether directly incited by the public or not. It is their responsibility not to engage in any confrontation."

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