Not all Penang Hospital staff receive allowance


Better protection: Frontliners of the Health Ministry preparing to conduct swab tests. RM1bil has been allocated to protect them from infection. — FAIHAN GHANI/ The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Not every staff member of Penang Hospital is getting the extra RM600 allowance a month, but those willing to speak up are glad that their colleagues will get it.

“They deserve it. Those who are handling samples, those actually in the Covid-19 ward, they deserve it,” said a medical officer who only wanted to be known as Ell.

Ell said she served in the operating theatre and did not have direct contact with Covid-19 patients.

“When there was a spike in new cases, I could see my colleagues suffering. Some of them didn’t go home, especially when a patient was intubated.

“They deserve the extra allowance to at least help their families feel more comfortable when they are not there,” she said.

For frontliners tackling Covid-19 facefirst, they get an extra allowance of RM600 a month.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said this allowance would be extended to next year.

A one-off gratuity of RM500 will also be paid to them.

Tengku Zafrul said this would benefit over 100,000 staff members in the Health Ministry facing the Covid-19 risk.

A sum of RM1bil – in addition to the RM1.8bil allocated previously – is set aside for the ministry for the specific purpose of battling Covid-19, including the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), test reagents and various disposables.

The latest allocation includes RM475mil for reagents, test kits and various disposables, RM318mil for PPE and hand sanitisers, RM150mil for National Disaster Management Agency and RM50mil for various lab expenditures and medicines.

A nurse in Penang Hospital hopes the extra RM600 allowance and RM500 one-off payment can be expanded to include front line hospital staff who don’t deal directly with Covid-19 patients but still face patients directly in general.

“We are fearful every time we go home. We sanitise before mingling with our families, but there is still always fear,” said a nurse who only wanted to be known as Kak Anum.

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