The Taipei City Hospital Labor Union has issued an open letter on Facebook to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), urging the Taipei City Government to give proper training and compensation to frontline medical practitioners who are handling COVID-19 treatment.
The union on Friday night posted the letter titled: “An open letter to Mayor Ko from the Taipei City Hospital’s employees.”
The letter — which came after a rumor that many of the hospital’s staff are thinking about resigning — says that it aims to let Ko and public understand the difficult situation that the frontline medical personnel face.
Photo: Wang Shu-hsiu, Taipei Times
A financial crisis in June last year led to staff salaries being cut by about 10 percents, while their bonuses were also reduced, it says.
“Following neglect by the city government and the hospital, many workers have gradually left their posts,” the letter says. “Now, with the disease outbreak, more frontline medical practitioners are in a state of anxiety.”
The hospital’s Heping branch, which was the epicenter of a SARS outbreak in Taiwan in 2003, has been designated as the city’s specialized COVID-19 prevention hospital, resulting in a reduction of the number of admitted inpatients to allow for more capacity to take care of patients with respiratory ailments, the letter says.
Staff from other branches were asked to help at the facility, but they were not informed about the operations beforehand, it says, adding that they did not receive special training for the work, nor were they offered compensation, occupational accident coverage or accommodations.
“We want to tell Mayor Ko that we medical practitioners are not made of iron, so in addition to facing the risk of infection at the hospital, we are also worried that we might take the virus back to our family and friends if we are forced to work on the front lines without proper preparation,” the letter says.
It asks Ko, the hospital and the Ministry of Health and Welfare for remedial measures, including a training program for medical practitioners caring for COVID-19 patients.
It also asks for clear rewards and compensation for frontline medical practitioners who are caring for COVID-19 patients, as well as accommodations if they are forced into mandatory quarantine due to their work.
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