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Some doctors won’t qualify for lump sum payment

Junior doctors who are not permanent and pensionable will not receive a $1,400 lump sum payment this month that was promised by the government, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Deputy Managing Director Lyrone C. Burrows said yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said public service workers will receive a $1,400 payment at the end of the month.

In a statement yesterday, the Cabinet Office reiterated that lump sum payments will be paid to “all public servants, PHA staff, doctors, nurses” as well as police, defense, customs, immigration and corrections officers. It did not mention any restrictions for who is eligible for payment.

In a December 19 letter to Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) President Dr. Melisande Bassett, Burrows said, “We also wish to confirm that as per directives, this lump sum payment extends only to junior doctors on the payroll identified as permanent and pensionable.

“As such junior doctors under contract and interns are not eligible for payment.

“Additionally, due to the tight timeframes involved in completing this transaction, the PHA is unable to conduct a full assessment of each junior doctor to determine whether there is a need for prorating any of the gross amount awarded.

“As a result, it is the PHA’s intention to make full payments of $1,400 to each eligible staff, then conduct a review in early January 2020 with a view to [recoup] any overpayments in a one-time claw-back.”

The letter also said that due to a delay in confirmation of funding for this exercise, settlement will not occur through the regular payroll process, but instead facilitated through a separate direct deposit to the respective bank account of each eligible member of staff.

Burrows added that the PHA expects that this transaction will occur simultaneously with the posting of salaries to each staff member’s account, “and as such, there should be no financial encumbrance”.

In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, Dr. Bassett said yesterday, “It’s sad that doctors seem to be placed at, once again, the short end of the stick.

“I’ve expressed this to the minister, and he indicated that this is not his intent for the junior doctors not to be included in this and he will take every step to try to correct it.

“They were certainly looking forward to it, and those that aren’t making a full salary certainly need it.”

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