Health care personnel in Saba
THE HAGUE–Health care professionals in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will receive a bonus of US $1,000 net for the increased work pressure that they have been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dutch State Secretary of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Paul Blokhuis stated this on Thursday in response to written questions submitted late October by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Nevin Özütok of the green left party GroenLinks.
Özütok sought clarity from Blokhuis and from Minister of Medical Care Tamara van Ark when she received information that the 1,000-euro care bonus that health care professionals in the Netherlands will receive at the end of 2020 would not be paid out to their colleagues in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Özütok found the non-payment of this bonus unacceptable. Not only because the health care workers on the islands also experienced an increased work pressure just as their colleagues in the Netherland did, but also because the islands are part of the Netherlands, and therefore should be treated equally.
State Secretary Blokhuis explained that while the subsidy regulation which facilitated the care bonus in the Netherlands was not applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands, the Dutch government did want to express its gratitude for the health care professionals on the islands for the “exceptional performances that they have made with their input for patients and clients with COVID-19 and with their contribution to the fight against COVID-19.”
Blokhuis confirmed, as did Minister of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Hugo de Jonge earlier that week, that an arrangement was being worked on to make a care bonus possible for this group of workers. Blokhuis announced that the amount would be US $1,000 net.
The state secretary noted that the period of the subsidy regulation for the Caribbean Netherlands will be from March 1 to December 31, 2020. This way, employers can weigh the input of health care professionals during the outbreaks in allocating the care bonus.
The Dutch government is working out the manner in which the funding for the care bonus will be made available. The small scale of the islands and the fact that the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS itself is the health care insurer makes it possible, other than in the Netherlands, to arrange the care bonus within the contractual agreements between the health insurance provider and the health care provider.