Categorized | National News

Doctors Get New Contract

After months of back and forth and a protest in front of the House of Assembly, the Bahamas Doctors Union has signed two new agreements with the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority.

The agreements come in at a cost of $17 million and runs into 2020.

On hand for the monumental signing were the Ministers for Labour and Health Shane Gibson and Dr. Perry Gomez who both spoke to the importance of the new agreements and the role they play moving forward.

“These negotiations started back in 2015 and the contract runs until 2020, it’s a five-year contract, like I always say it’s difficult to put every single condition in when it comes to industrial agreements but we manage to get it done,” Mr. Gibson said.

“The execution of the industrial agreement represents the cultivation of the collection bargaining process that seeks to create an equitable framework. This becomes vitally important with the respect to healthcare as the relationship between employers and employees does impact the patient experience within our healthcare system.

“This agreement is a clear indication of the government’s commitment to the ongoing partnership with the labour movement and physicians in particular.

“I was pleased to announce that medical health insurance has been included in the previous agreement for the first time and now proud to say with the imminent rollout of National Health Insurance the group medical plan for physicians will continue for six months following the rollout of the NHI program,” Dr. Gomez said.

Some of the complaints doctors stressed to the government during their negotiations were concerning their pay scale, health insurance and inadequate working conditions and while both sides say they did not get everything they ask for, Acting President of the Bahamas Doctors Union Mucomba Millar saying the new contracts are a step in the right direction.

“We’re glad to have concluded a long and arduous negotiation with the ministry, it has been a long time since doctors have had a significant rise in pay.

“The pay was important but also there was an agreement for improvements in working conditions, as many places are unsanitary, also having a voice in what’s really going on with the system,” Dr. Millar said.

When asked by The Journal on how the agreements would affect the rollout of National Health Insurance, Dr. Millar said the union was not prepared to issue a statement at this time.

When prompted Dr. Gomez revealed a total of 462 doctors in the public sector are expected to be impacted by the new agreements.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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