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Senior physicians hopeful after meeting with PM

Following a meeting with the prime minister yesterday morning, Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr. Locksley Munroe said senior physicians are expected to meet with the financial secretary today in hopes of resolving their concerns.

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

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 weeks of negotiations between the CPSA and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) have proven fruitless.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis met with the CPSA yesterday in an effort to resolve the standoff.

“The meeting went fairly well,” said Munroe outside the Office of the Prime Minister.

“He has committed to resolving the issue [with] whatever [power] he has. It has not been resolved at this moment; however, he has organized a meeting of priority between the CPSA, the Financial Secretary Mr. Marlon Johnson and some person from the Ministry of Finance.

“At that meeting it is expected that an amicable, satisfactory agreement will be signed off on and therefore we’re looking forward to that meeting.”

Johnson said that during the meeting he will “review the proposals put forward by them (CPSA) and to determine the best quality of advice to give to the prime minister” regarding the situation.

The CPSA president said senior physicians will not return to work until their issues are resolved.

Munroe expressed optimism that a resolution would happen soon.

“Well I think the prime minister has provided an avenue for us to bypass that stalemate,” he said.

“I think within 24 hours or so maybe we should be able to make a different statement to the public.”

He added: “[The meeting] has moved the process forward. It hasn’t brought it to the conclusion but the process has been moved forward in a manner where you can almost see that there will be a resolution, almost.”

When asked whether this meant the public should expect a return of senior physicians to PMH, Munroe said, “That is going to depend on the outcome of that meeting [today] with financial secretary and [the] person from the Ministry of Finance then that statement will be made.

“We are not going to make any statement that will turn out be false or cause us to have to step back.”

Munroe declined to say what it would take for senior physicians to return to work “because it hasn’t been agreed to” yet.

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