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Vanterpool fights hospital’s request for $3.7M

Minister of Communications and Works Mark Vanterpool at a press briefing yesterday

Minister of Communications and Works Mark Vanterpool at a press briefing yesterday

Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool has fought against a proposal the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has made for its budget to pay staff to increase by $3.7 million this financial year.

The minister said the BVIHSA should get only half of the increase it requested.

According to him, there is no way the BVIHSA could use all the additional funds it requested this year.

Vanterpool raised the concern when the management of the BVIHSA appeared recently before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Assembly.

The committee, in its report made public a few days ago, reported: “The Minister of Communications and Works was of the opinion that the salaries for Budget Expenditure 2016/2017 looked very high for a financial year, and that the BVIHSA would not be in a position to hire [an additional] $3.7 million for this financial year.”

In response, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of the BVIHSA Paula Chester-Cumberbatch noted the need for additional workers, adding that some of the specialist positions attract high figures.

According to the parliamentary committee report, “The Chief Executive Officer [further] noted that the BVIHSA would have staffing needs in the health information system, ambulatory centres starting with the Nurse Iris O’Neal [Medical Centre] which would need an additional 45 persons. She also noted that the fifth floor of Peebles Hospital would be commissioned and they were now hiring additional nurses and support staff. She further mentioned the expansion of the Road Town Clinic, and also new ambulances will be purchased – which will require additional staff.”

The new initiatives to be pursued were also noted by the Financial Comptroller at BVIHSA, Angelina John.

She stated that, although the new staff would not be ‘realistically’ employed this financial year, the necessary provisions should be made.

Vanterpool, in the meantime, said he understands the need for new staff, but a budget should be realistic.

Further reporting on the minister’s comment, the parliamentary committee said: “The Minister of Communication and Works (Vanterpool) was of the opinion that a budget has to be as realistic as possible, and he understands the points raised by the Financial Comptroller to make provisions for new employees. He noted that the BVIHSA should have a provisional 2017/218 Budget that reflects half of the $3.7 million [requested].”

The BVIHSA had requested that its budget for Personal Emoluments be increased from $22,833,460 to $26,540,621 this financial year.

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