Northdale staff say no to overtime

2010-04-27 00:00

NORTHDALE Hospital pharmacy staff are adamant that they won’t work overtime until their grievances over pay are resolved.

An employee who asked not to be named told The Witness yesterday that it bothers them to see people in long queues waiting for their medication, only to be sent home empty handed.

“This is not our doing because we have worked way beyond 4:30 pm, but when the employer doesn’t want to pay for overtime, then we can’t work for free. The hospital and the department are fully aware of our demands and the ball is in their court,” said the employee, directing The Witness to the hospital management and the Health Department for answers.

Yesterday hundreds of patients, including some who were at the hospital on Friday but were sent away at 4:30 pm, became agitated when the security guard told them that the only dispensing cubicle is closing and that they will have to come back on tomorrow.

Said Joan Mahomed of Panorama Gardens, “What games are these people playing with our lives? We are here for various medical conditions and this is the treatment we get.

“My son is epileptic and he depends on this medication. To that add the fact that I didn’t go to work, all for nothing. This is crazy and it’s time we show these people that we are ­also human beings.”

Earlier yesterday a young boy allegedly suffered two asthma attacks, while an old lady had dangerously high blood pressure.

Sumaya Khan, who also brought her son for medication, said she tried to get some pills for the old woman, but the security at the entrance of the pharmacy told her to join the queue.

“The woman was taken away by her relatives without medication and nobody knows what became of her because she was shaking and perspiring profusely,” said Khan.

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon confirmed that the district manager and the hospital have received the demands from the pharmacy staff and are working on them.

He said some of the demands are not possible to address.

“One of those is the demand for payment of overtime from 2009. The hospital has indicated that it will look into overtime from this financial year once the budget has been captured on the Persal system,” said Maxon.

He added that discussions are under way and that work has resumed.

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