Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), Moleto Smith, said the BVIHSA Board has been making the long-protested issue of compensation for staff a matter of priority.
Smith told reporters at a recent press conference that the issues of recruitment and retention as well as compensation of staff is a balancing act.
According to the chairman, there has been a hiring freeze at the healthcare facility for months. He said this freeze is on non-critical positions. Smith said this hiring freeze is coupled with a request for other cost-saving measures the cash-strapped organisation is exploring.
He also praised BVIHSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr June Samuel and her team for their creativity in finding new recruitment areas for nurses and other staff.
Health Minister Marlon Penn recently disclosed that the BVIHSA entered into an agreement with Cuba, which will result in a limited number of health professionals being deployed to the BVI over the next year.
But Smith said the agency is looking at everything in order to achieve that balance and said it will require continued collaboration with the Health Ministry, among other things.
Payment equity a concern
In the meantime, Smith explained that the Board has engaged in a comprehensive compensation review which is currently underway and said he was hopeful that results will be received within the next few months so decisions can be made.
Part of the entire recruitment process that the BVIHSA is embarking on is based on the important issue of payment equity.
“We know that compensation and issues around compensation have been less than ideal for sometime, but the Board is not leaving the white elephant, just [rampant] on the table, we are actually working directly to address these things,” Smith told reporters.
He added: “I’m not giving you a lot of additional detail until the final products come to us because there are some proposals that will be fleshed out and we’re hoping that the month of December or early January we’ll have those completed and brought to us but we are actively working on compensation issues.”