Several employees of the records, kitchen and electrocardiogram (ECG) departments of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) yesterday walked off the job due to the malfunctioning air conditioning units in those departments over the past week.
Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President Kimsley Ferguson warned hospital administrators that if they do not rectify the uncomfortable conditions, employees will withdraw their services.
“This situation began from before the beginning of this week and so we should have at least been at the point where we are aware of what the problem was and what we are going to do to resolve it,” Ferguson said during a press conference outside the Critical Care Block.
“I’m very concerned that we’re not getting very good cooperation here from the administrator at this particular hospital when we do have concerns that are affecting the staff.
“So, I want to put persons on notice that the Bahamas Public Services Union is not going to sit idly by and allow people to work under adverse working conditions without a view to how they are going to be resolved.
“We need to serve notice. We don’t want to do anything that is going to affect the general public, but if it is necessary to cause our voices to be heard, we understand and are aware that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
Ferguson said there are no windows in those areas and there seems to be no contingency plan in place when the A/C units malfunction.
He also noted that an assessment needs to be conducted to determine if the units are aging and need to be replaced.
“We are here to work with management at the hospital because we understand the importance of healthcare, but at the same time we need management to be sensitive to the fact that there are human beings working under these adverse conditions and when the point and time comes when it becomes unbearable, we are going to withdraw the staff,” he said.
The Public Hospitals Authority recently signed a $1.15 million contract with Caribbean International A/C Services Limited for two cooling systems for the Critical Care Block.
But Ferguson said this does not cover the areas of his union members.
“We are asking management, let’s get together so that we can get an understanding of what is happening so that when there is a malfunction, we can work together with them to resolve it,” he said.