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‘It’s Humiliating’: Barysau Health Care Workers to Be Paid for Minutes Spent with COVID-Positive

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‘It’s Humiliating’: Barysau Health Care Workers to Be Paid for Minutes Spent with COVID-Positive

Physicians are being deceived.

Payments for work with COVID-19 patients keep raising questions. Tut.by has a copy of the annex to the order of Barysau's chief physician. According to it, physicians must record the name of each patient with COVID-19, the type of aid rendered and the time in contact. Based on these data, the commission must calculate the amount of additional payment provided by the decree "On Financial Encouragement of Healthcare Workers". It seems to be all according to the rules, but there is a nuance.

The physician of the Barysau district hospital explains that he and his colleagues must add not only every COVID-19 patient but also the time in contact, up to minutes. At the end of the month, the physician says, these minutes are summed up to set the final amount of the bonus, although Lukashenka's decree stipulates payments for shifts.

When Lukashenka signed the decree "On Financial Encouragement of Healthcare Workers," the Ministry of Health gave detailed explanations on how to apply it.

As experts explained, the decree does not specify that only employees of infectious diseases departments are subject to bonuses. Hence, all health workers who help COVID-19 patients are entitled to a bonus.

A special commission will determine the amount of this bonus. The bonus should be set monthly and paid for the working hours.

According to the Ministry of Health, if a physician or other health care worker had one-time contact with a coronavirus-infected patient, the bonus shall equal to one working day or for the whole shift one had contact with a patient.

According to the physician, who asked for anonymous, the situation with the payment in Barysau hospital is as follows:

- In April, almost no one received the promised bonuses. In May, the chief physician issued an order. We have not seen it. Now we have to fill in the sheets. We write in minutes spent with coronavirus-positive or first-level contacts. At the end of the month, the time is summed up. After that, the commission will decide how much money each health worker is paid out.

A health care worker must provide patient data and medical records number, date of COVID-19 confirmation, medical assistance provided, date and time. There are also lines to enter the hours spent with an infected patient and actual hours of work.

- The problem is that the table must include those who have been swabbed and now have confirmation of coronavirus. Even if the symptoms suggest a diagnosis or the patient has bilateral pneumonia, the time is not considered contact before the result of testing. The result of the rapid test is not taken into account. The result of swabbing may take seven days. That is, all this time you spend with a patient is not paid. Plus, one has to find out whether a patient has coronavirus or not.

According to the physician, the nursing staff has norms on the time they should add to the sheet.

- One minute to give out the pills, three minutes to inject. It makes four minutes in total. That's what they're supposed to record. Our hospital is not considered to be an institution that treats coronavirus patients. However, people with pneumonia seek help in our institution. We examine them. We can accept a person with another diagnosis, and later we detect COVID-19. We're in contact with them every shift, but we have to count minutes, not days.

According to the physician, some of the colleagues refused to count the time they spent in contact because "it is humiliating".

- We have to provide medical care around the clock. If someone cannot do it, it bears an increased workload on others. But we understand that we must not let our colleagues down. Nobody goes on vacation, does not quit, but it's humiliating to count minutes. I don't need any bonuses. But I would like to know that I do everything for a reason.