The GSD has lambasted the Gibraltar Government over its handling of the change of contract at the John Mackintosh elderly residential wing and the impact it has had on staff.
In a statement the GSD said the Government had failed to secure jobs for the 42 carers concerned despite the very clear verbal assurances provided by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
This comes as the increasingly acrimonious row over the change of contract continued yesterday with a string of exchanges between the Government and Grand Home Care.
“The Government have entirely mishandled a situation which should have been properly managed from the start in order to avoid the unnecessary serious concerns of the elderly and their families,” the GSD’s statement read.
The party added that 42 carers who “have given excellent service to the most vulnerable in our community” were left out to dry.
It is unacceptable in modern progressive Gibraltar to treat care workers, the elderly and their families in this way, the GSD stated.
“Many of the 42 workers have cared for our mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers and have built up relationship over years and to simply dispense their service without preserving continuity of care is wrong and morally reprehensible,” the statement read.
Shadow Minister for Health, Elliott Phillips said: “The Government are failing workers, the elderly and their families in the transition from GHC to MedDoc.”
“The Government proclaims that they are a caring Government but the management of whole process from the opaque ‘public’ tendering process, the failing to protect workers to most importantly the continuity of care of our elderly has been clumsy and careless.”
“The GSLP/Liberal Government have been found wanting and it’s high time that they put the care of our elderly and the vulnerable at the forefront otherwise the hallmark of their administration will be the serious neglect of the most vulnerable in our community and workers’ rights.”
The GSD’s comments drew a stinging reaction from the Minister for Health Neil Costa who accused the Opposition of “jumping on a band wagon in a manner designed to protect the profits of GHC’s shareholders and directors”.
“In my view, the GSD should make greater efforts to understand why GHC’s workers demonstrated outside their offices and why they will feel more secure and better valued with MedDoc than they do today,” Mr Costa said.
“Perhaps then Mr Phillips might realise that the Government has acted entirely properly and in keeping with the best interests of the residents, the carers and nurses and the taxpayer.”
He insisted that the Government has acted entirely correctly in the circumstances.
Mr Costa added: “It is ironic that the GSD should claim that GSLP/Liberals have been found wanting when we are the Government who have provided the Bella Vista Day Centre, the Hillsides Residential Home, the John Mackintosh Home and an increase in the annual Domiciliary Care budget from £500,000 to £2.5M.”