Categorized | National News

Doctors Call on Govt for “Creative” Help

Doctors Union President Dr. Charles Clarke yesterday in an interview with The Bahama Journal called on the government to come up with creative ways to meet the needs of the country’s physicians.

These sentiments came after the union rejected the government’s recent proposal for a new industrial agreement.

Dr. Clarke said while the union understands the government is limited in how much it can compensate its members financially; he said there are other avenues that can be explored.

“I’m trying to find a way once they can recognise our difficulties in transport and two, is I have to come out 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, I shouldn’t have to borrow my sister’s car or my father’s car. There needs to be something that assists doctors in transport. Their concern is that if they open up this door, they are going to open it up to other people. No! In Jamaica and Trindad this is something that is particular for physicians,” said Dr. Clarke.

The president admitted that the union for some time has been somewhat laid back in its approach and he called on his colleagues to change their mindsets.

“They feel like I can’t go because I have this to do or my consultant can’t do anything to let me go. It’s the culture that we need to change. I’m hoping that at the end of this contract people will feel empowered to recognise their rights as workers and certainly their rights as executive members to represent the bodies of the whole body of doctors,” he said.

Dr. Clarke noted that some members of the government have “sympathised” with the doctors throughout their plight.

“I think the government has to some extent, some of the ministers have shown good faith and some of the negotiators have shown good faith. Even on the other side of the table there are people who actually sympathise and recognise the plight and how overbearing things have been and have actually conceded and opened up the door,”

“Both sides are particularly punch drunk and tired of this and exhausted. I am particularly exhausted, my executive team is exhausted,” Dr. Clarke added.

Back in April, the union led a peaceful protest in Rawson Square, with the main bone of contention being Bahamian doctors are poorly paid; an issue dated back as far as 20 years.

At the time the union was also demanding much better working conditions and asking that doctors be promoted according to their level of training.

Dr. Clarke noted that immediately after yesterday’s interview with The Bahama Journal, he and the team would have headed into a negotiation meeting with all relevant parties.

There are over 300 financial members a part of the Doctors Union; including doctors from throughout the family islands, The Public Hospitals Authority and the Princess Margaret Hospital.



Written by Jones Bahamas

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