PHA ‘gambling’ with healthcare

The Medical Association of The Bahamas (MAB) yesterday accused the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) of gambling with the healthcare of Bahamians by refusing to negotiate with the Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA).

In a statement, MAB President Dr. E. Marcus Cooper said the association fully supports the CPSA and hopes it reaches a speedy resolution with the PHA.

“Until that time, the MAB will do all in its power to mitigate the inconveniences that have resulted from the industrial action,” Cooper said.

He added that while doctors and nurses in the public healthcare system remain “shortchanged”, PHA executives continue to receive full pay despite “convincing evidence of mismanagement” at that entity.

The CPSA, which represents 130 consultant physicians, withdrew labor last week forcing Princess Margaret Hospital to cancel all non-emergency services.

The PHA said it was difficult to continue negotiations in good faith during the CPSA’s industrial action.

But Cooper said, “The MAB is saddened by the decision of the PHA to suspend all negotiations with the Consultant Physicians Staff Association.

“It is unfortunate that the PHA has chosen to gamble with the healthcare of Bahamians by disregarding the value of senior physician input in the management of ambulatory and hospitalized patients.

“All physicians have taken an oath to help the sick and prevent harm, it is deeply troubling when we are portrayed as insensitive and uncaring.

“For years, both junior and senior physicians have made both personal and professional sacrifices to improve the quality of services in the public system.

“It is because of these sacrifices that the country is able to boast the best public healthcare facility in the region.

“While physicians continue to work in unfavorable conditions with minimal resources and inadequate support, management repeatedly fails to improve efficiency and create a culture of accountability.

“For years there has been no substantial attempt to improve billing and collections or to enhance public private partnerships to generate additional income, but physicians are labeled as under-performers.

“Despite convincing evidence of mismanagement, misappropriation and wastage, there have been no widespread changes in governance at the Public Hospitals Authority and executives continue to receive full pay while physicians and nurses are shortchanged in compensation and benefits.”

The CPSA withdrew their services throughout The Bahamas following failed negotiations with the 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.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will meet with the CPSA today in an effort to resolve the standoff.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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