Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said yesterday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will meet with the Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) separately today in an effort to bring a resolution to a standoff between the senior doctors and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA).
The CPSA, which represents 130 consultant physicians, withdrew labor last week forcing Princess Margaret Hospital to cancel all non-emergency services.
Foulkes said Minnis will meet with the CPSA at 7:30 a.m. and will then meet with other union leaders at 10 a.m.
“It gives the prime minister the opportunity to speak to the unions directly, and to address the issues they have,” Foulkes said.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for the union leaders.”
Minnis promised to meet with the doctors but concerns were raised after Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Obie Ferguson said he could not attend a meeting scheduled with the prime minister and all the unions.
Ferguson said Minnis was better off meeting with the CPSA, the Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) and the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) alone.
In an interview with ZNS on Friday, Minnis said he spoke to CPSA President Dr. Locksley Munroe regarding the meeting.
“I have spoken to Dr. Munroe this morning as well as [officials from the] Public Hospitals Authority asking them to all stand down and for the doctors to go back to work,” Minnis said.
“We have agreed on that. The doctors will return to work, and I will meet with the PHA tomorrow (Saturday) so that I can get the details as to what are the issues and the way forward.
“I will meet with the doctors, Munroe and the other physician executives at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, so as to have an amicable resolution moving forward.”
The Guardian understands that consultant physicians are still engaged in industrial action.
The physicians have highlighted concerns with working conditions at PMH, and a lack of health insurance, and said they have not received raises in 10 years.
Minnis said he is committed to meeting with union leaders in the country every six months.
“The record would reflect that I met with the unions six months ago,” Minnis said.
“I’ve made a commitment that I would meet with them every six months moving forward so that we could have a good relationship.”
In recent weeks, members of the BNU, the CPSA, the BDU, the Bahamas Union of Teachers, the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union, the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union, the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union and the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union have all either demonstrated or threatened industrial action.