As senior doctors in the country remain off the job, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday that he intends to speak with Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr. Locksley Munroe in an effort to resolve its issues.
“I will call Dr. Munroe today as a colleague to find out what the issues are,” Minnis told The Nassau Guardian following the morning sitting of the House of Assembly.
“We can speak as colleagues, one on one, find where the physicians are and we would work towards coming to an amicable resolution. I will also call the president of the nurses’ association and work similarly, accordingly.”
More than 100 senior physicians have withdrawn services throughout The Bahamas following failed negotiations with the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA).
The physicians have highlighted concerns with working conditions, and a lack of health insurance, and said they have not received raises in 10 years.
The majority of physicians who participated in a strike vote on October 5 voted to strike.
The PHA said that Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) has activated its Emergency Operations Centre.
Minnis said he is confident that the senior doctors will not compromise the healthcare of Bahamians.
“I am confident that doctors are very reasonable individuals,” he said.
“They are professionals and I am confident that we can come to an amicable resolution.
“The last thing any doctor want is to jeopardize patents’ care. That is not our training.
“I will give you an example. There is a particular doctor who, because he feels that patients may possibly be delayed in receiving their healthcare, he has offered services at his private office.
“Once an individual has a booking for any particular clinic and they cannot be seen, they can come with that appointment card to his private facility and they will be seen by him, free of charge.
“That’s how doctors are. They are not driven by money. They are drive by their profession, to care for people.”
Minnis was referring to Dr. Harold Munnings, who will hold a free clinic at his practice at Grosvenor Medical Centre on Friday and Saturday to “assist those hospital outpatients whose medical clinics have been canceled”.
In a statement on Tuesday, the PHA said that all out-patient specialty clinics inclusive of medical, surgical, dental, ENT (ear, nose and throat), eye clinic and family medicine clinics were being canceled until further notice.
“Persons holding appointments for clinics are asked to contact the respective clinics to reschedule appointments,” the PHA said.
“Elective surgeries have been cancelled until further notice, only emergency cases will be performed at this time.”
Among the major issues for the CPSA has been salaries.
Senior physicians initially requested $250,000 annual as a base salary but CPSA President Locksley Munroe said they are willing to accept at least $75,000.
The PHA’s most recent counterproposal would have increased the base salary from $48,000 to $60,500.
But Munroe maintained that the offer was unacceptable.
The CPSA represents around 130 physician consultants.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English