The government of Lesotho has to take action and deal with the matter involving nursing staff and the management of the Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital QMMH as well as the Ministry of Health.
This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA) Seoaholimo who indicated that between Tšepong, as the hospital is known, is the employer but that Government as the regulator has to facilitate a solution between the warring sides.
“Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital is a consortium owned by about five companies that had an agreement with the government of Lesotho. The agreement signed by Tšepong and Lesotho government is called Lesotho Health Network Public Private Partnership (PPP),” he said.
Seoaholimo said “the financial model section contains departments that are found in the hospital, how many nurses have to be in each department and how much they should be paid.
“For example, in the financial model of the PPP it is stated that Tšepong Hospital will pay each nurse working in the Intensive Care Unit about M8,000.00 but they are being paid only M6,000.00,” he said.
The general secretary indicated that the agreement states that where Tšepong seems not to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement, the government of Lesotho has to take actions against the hospital and come up with the solution. “That is why I am saying the government is the one responsible to come up with a solution to the problem today.
“Secondly in an agreement the government of Lesotho agreed to review and work on matters that affects the salaries of the nurses,” he said.
Seoaholimo further disclosed that, where lives, works and essential services are threatened the ministry of labour and employment has to undertake investigations through the labour commission. In this case the labour commission has to investigate Tšepong and ministry of health and come up with the findings in 10 days so that the matter can be solved. In a case where the matter is not solved the labour commission takes that matter to the labour court. This is according to the Labour Code Order of 1992,” he said.
According to the PPP agreement that was signed for by ‘Mamphono Khaketla for and on behalf the government of Lesotho, Karabo Mokobocho who was the Principal Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Health and PS of the Ministry of Finance Mosito Khethisa the ICU of Ts’epong is supposed to have 28 registered nurses who should be paid M8,183.
According to the letter written to Committee of Lesotho Parliament on the 12th August 2018 on the subject matter, “Re: urgent intervention on Tsepong Operation” the ICU registered nurse should be paid M8183, ICU Assistant nurse M4124, theatre registered nurse M8183, theatre assistant nurse M4124 Female medical RN M7410, female medical ENT M3646, chefs M5231, ward clerks M2500 and receptionist M2674.
According to the letter by LEWA the financial model differed very much, with what is applied on the ground during operations, as salaries are paid as follows; ICU registered nurse salary was M6588 in March 2014, ICU assistant nurse M3327, theatre registered nurse M7288, theatre assistant nurse M3872 in April 2014, female medical RN M7410, female medical ENT M3646, Chefs M2449, ward clerks M2294 in August 2013 and receptionist M2300.
The anomaly was confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Health Nto Moakhi who indicated that it is true that Tšepong Hospital is not paying the nurses as it is supposed to.
“The ministry is going to have several meetings to come up with a solution to this matter and Tšepong has to pay the nurses accordingly,” he said.
However, the Public Relations Officer of QMMH Mothepane Thahane indicated that Tšepong has been using the financial model in the PPP agreement. “Tšepong is using the financial model in the PPP agreement. What happened is that Ministry of Health restructured the salaries and Tšepong was not part of the restructuring that is not included in the financial model. That is where the problem is today,” she said.
In statement released this week the LNA says “QMMH has no standard salary structure such that there is disparity in salary remuneration. They pay nurses and nursing assistants salaries equivalent to half a salary of those working at the government facilities and this has been happening since 2012. They abuse, threaten, discriminate, traumatize nurses and nursing assistants when they demand their fair salary remuneration. This goes as far as engagement of security forces to threaten and brutally assault our members at the workplace and they use unfair labor practices to instill fear amongst those who demand their fair salary remuneration,”