Share article:
Share article:

Medical workers demand protection, not bonuses

Credit: Belga

Healthcare staff have spoken out against a decision by the Belgian Government to provide ‘front-line’ medical staff with a one-time bonus of €1,450, calling for more protective equipment rather than a bonus.

“The announcement has created tensions in the hospitals,” said Christophe Happe, director of the National Federation for Medico-Social Associations (Unessa), explaining that while the bonus rewarded doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other front line staff, it was ultimately causing avoidable tensions.

“Logistics staff who ensure that care providers can concentrate fully on caring for patients would be excluded, as would staff in nursing homes, who are nevertheless fighting just as hard against the pandemic,” Happe said. A bonus for front-line medical staff would “fragment a health system, which represents a set of professions on the front line without respite.”

Instead of “destabilising staff on the ground” with such a bonus, Happe hopes that authorities will consult with the sector first. As director of Unessa, he represents 300 organisations active in health care and personal assistance. “Any bonuses could be considered once the crisis is behind us,” he said.

The National Federation for Nurses in Belgium (FNIB) was also unhappy with the proposal. In an open letter, they asked for their profession to be recognised as a hard profession, and to acknowledge the “painful and dangerous nature” of their jobs.

The federation called on politicians to “take responsibility”. “Where are you while we are on the ground against all odds and against this merciless and invisible enemy,” they asked Health Minister Maggie De Block.

Additionally, the FNIB pleaded to stop budget cuts. “How can we keep the economy going if the majority of health workers are no longer providing care?”

De Block is currently facing lots of criticism as Health Minister, most notably after it was discovered that she had a large supply of mouth masks destroyed three years ago without replenishing the stock.

The Brussels Times 

Latest news

Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...