Choithram Hospital to Close Down
The Chief Executive Officer ,(CEO) of Choithram Consortium, a conglomerate of business entities that includes the Choithram Memorial Hospital, Mr. Harish Agnani Anil Datswany has hinted that the hospital may likely be forced to closed down if workers continue to demand pay rise and other conditions of service.
The reason, he said, was that the hospital despite being private and funded by a Trust Fund which according to him was like a sort of Non-Governmental Organization, (NGO), had not been making enough money or profit to withstand its current operations.
Mr. Agnani’s comment came following threats of strike action by workers over nonpayment of risk allowances, study leave, payment of salaries by sequence of arrival rather than qualification, alleged intimidation of local staff, nonpayment of staff’s National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) benefits, etc.
Speaking to this medium, Mr. Agnani dismissed the aggrieved workers’ claims, stating that “whosoever thinks that he/she is not comfortable with the hospital’s current salary structure should resign or else they would be forced to closed down and handover the hospital to the government of Sierra Leone.
He continued that Choithram Memorial Hospital’s current financial generation was incomparable to the current cost of its daily operations, adding that no business entity would want to be operating in such manner.
Reacting to Mr. Agnani’s claim, the aggrieved workers said their CEO was trying to be economical with the truth, stating that the issue about the hospital’s current financial generation as compared to its operational cost was the opposite as Management “is making millions of Leon’s everyday”.
Asking why they thought that was the case; the workers said they knew the amount of people visiting the hospital for treatment every day. They said the hospital had been the most expensive in the country, adding that patients admitted at the least ward (non AC room) are required to pay Le 175,000 per day and Le 800,000 as deposit if they were Sierra Leoneans, while none citizens are paying Le 300,000 per day and Le 1,200,000 as deposit. They continued that, this excludes laboratory tests, medicines, etc.
For expatriates working in Sierra Leone, they said they were required to pay US$ 150 per day and US$ 350 as deposit.
The aggrieved workers further revealed that for rooms with AC system, patients were required to pay Le 250,000 per day and Le 1,000,000 as deposit for Sierra Leoneans, while noncitizens were required to pay US $200 per day and US $300 as deposit.
The Aggrieved workers said they were therefore confused over Mr. Agnani’s statement as the hospital was always full of patients. They said all what they had been agitating for was for them to be put under a grading system where staff would be paid by their qualifications and technical expertise rather than sequence of arrival.
They claimed that the latter had resulted to drivers, porters and nursing aids receiving more pay than nursing staff, midwives, etc. That, they argued, had a negative impact on their outputs and yet the Choithram Management had failed to address their concerns.
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