Speaking after the march by nurses equipped with their banners protesting against proposed changes in their scheme of service on Saturday 14th October 2017, the CEO of Health Care Agency Dr Danny Louange elaborated on changes that was presented to nurses by the Minister for Health Jean Paul Adam.

The main proposal, which has already been incorporated in the 2018 budget proposal, is a retention allowance of SR 3,000. This represents an increase of 30% on the average nurses’ salary.

“The Government has committed a 3000 rupee increase to the nurses’ total salary,” Dr Louange said.  “The increase in salary amounts to 15 million rupees for over 400 nurses.”

This is just the first phase of the review of the salary. “We’re conducting an evaluation to look at staffing needs and workload using a tool that WHO has provided,” Dr Louange added. The assessment is being carried out using WISN, a World Health Organisation (WHO) tool, to assess the scope of work undertaken by nurses and other health workers, with the intention of incorporating the allowance into the basic salary as soon as practicable.

Nurses are expected to also benefit from a new gratuity system as part of the review. Their gratuities would be calculated as a percentage of their salary over the last five years rather than on a fixed sum.

In the existing scheme, nurses earn SR 15,000 for their first five year gratuity with gradual increments as they serve longer. The new proposal provides that nurses would receive 6% of their salary and their inducement payments earned over the five year period. In practice, over the first five years the nurses would double their gratuity. The time frame for the implementation of the gratuity scheme are still under discussion as it has to be considered in terms of the long term costs as well as added revisions that will need to be made to other health professionals schemes.

Moreover, discussions are on-going to review the inducement allowance and allowances for marketable skills to ensure better recognition of key nursing qualifications.

“Good governance is key to what we are doing. We’re involving the HCA Board to identify all the best possible options for nurses as well as other health care workers,” Dr Lounage further explained.

Dr Louange reassured that revisions to the scheme of service and evaluation of staffing needs and workload would be continuous. Additionally, a workforce plan is being developed for all Health Care Agency staff and is expected to be completed in the coming months.

Changes in the scheme of service for nurses will be implemented in phases. Some will be effective as from the start of 2018 while others span out 2018-2019.

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