Healthcare workers yesterday asked that the hazard subsidies for caring for COVID-19 patients be equal to those distributed during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
Four representatives from the Taipei Doctors Union and National Taiwan University Hospital Union protested in front of the Centers of Disease Control headquarters in Taipei to press their demand.
Taiwan has been able to effectively control the spread of COVID-19 because healthcare professionals have been willing to comply with the government’s policy banning them from traveling abroad before June 30.
Taipei Doctors Union board director He Chien-hui (何建輝), a pulmonary medicine specialist at a hospital in the city, said that the head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), on March 6 said that doctors and nurses taking care of COVID-19 patients could receive a hazard subsidy of up to NT$10,000 per day, which was what was paid in 2003.
However, the rules on hazard pay that were announced on Friday last week would actually mean less money, He said.
During the SARS outbreak, a front-line physician was paid NT$10,000 per day, while a nurse received NT$5,000.
For those working in isolation wards, the new rules stipulate that a doctor could treat no more than 10 COVID-19 patients per day, while a nurse would care for no more than five patients per day during their shift, and a hospital should have the nurses working on a three-shifts-per-day schedule.
Only one doctor per ward and one nurse per shift can apply for the daily hazard subsidy.
For doctors and nurses working in intensive care units, hospitals must have one doctor working the day shift and another working the night shift, while nurses would again be on a three-shift-per-day rotation, and only one nurse and one doctor per shift could apply for the daily hazard subsidy.
“The reality is that patients would be treated by multiple doctors and nurses,” He said.
“This means the daily NT$10,000 subsidy given to a doctor or a nurse would have to be shared with their colleagues, so the amount that each would receive would be less than healthcare workers received during the SARS outbreak,” he added.
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