Hospital management refutes salary claims

Mater Dei Hospital management has refuted claims that nurses at the hospital were given US$10 annual bonuses leading to them embarking on a strike in protest against the development.

In an interview with CITE, the chairman of the board of trustees of the Mater Dei Trust, Raymond Smithwick, Maureen Jamieson the hospital administrator and Ethabert Ponalo the hospital’s accountant, dismissed the claims as grossly inaccurate.

This is after we had reported that the hospital had paid its nurses a bonus of US$10 on top of their salaries.

Smithwick started off by correcting the widely held view that the private health facility is run by the Roman Catholic church as has been reported by various media organisations.

“The hospital was formed 70 years ago by an order of Roman Catholic nuns called the Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Motherhood. They came out to then Rhodesia, then Southern Rhodesia on missionary work and they founded the hospital. In 1998, the hospital was transferred to a not-for-profit trust called the Mater Dei Hospital Trust. So it is not Roman Catholic Church-run hospital,” said Smithwick.

Smithwick added that there was no strike at the hospital last week contrary to our report last week.

“Not a single nurse went on strike,” he said. “No nurse failed to arrive for his/her shift last week”.

He added that the hospital did not pay bonuses as low as US$10.

Smithwick admitted that like most hospitals in Zimbabwe “there are issues involving nurses because there are offered incredible salaries in the United Kingdom and other countries” but the situation was not dire at Mater Dei.

He also refuted claims that general workers and nurse aides were getting paid better than nurses adding that the hospital did not condone nepotism and that there were no such cases as had been alleged.

“We are extremely careful about nepotism and there are no nurse aides or general workers who are related to the administration,” said Smithwick.

Jamieson buttressed the point by pointing out that the hospital’s salary grading system is guided by the National Employment Council (NEC) and that the nurses at the hospital were well remunerated.

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