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Minister Responds To Nurses Walk out

Health Minister Doctor Duane Sands said there has been no significant impact on the public healthcare services on Monday despite the decision taken by hundreds of nurses to demonstrate. 

The bone of contention is a new shift system that will come into effect December 10th. 

The new shift system calls for an eight-hour daily shift or a 40-hour work week as opposed to the current 10-hour shift for night duty nurses.

  The Public Hospitals Authority has also decided that nurses scheduled to work between 6:00pm and 6:00am will receive a $1.75 per hour premium in addition to their standard base hourly pay. 

However, Bahamas Nurses Union  President  Amancha Williams is dissatisfied with this  and   had the backing of hundreds of nurses on Monday. Dr. Sands told reporters  yesterday   that despite the action, services continued.

“It was a particular light day in the emergency room at PMH. Even though nurses would have participated at the Rand Memorial Hospital, Fleming Street, South Beach and a number of other clinics, there was certainly no negative impacts,” Dr. Sands said.  

The minister expressed hope that the BNU would accept the invitation to meet at the negotiating table with the PHA.

“There is a significant legal issue here, and it boils down to the interpretation of the validity and the enforceability of the agreement signed by the BNU leadership in 2017.

“The PHA ‘s position is  that it is enforceable, the BNU’s position is that it is not and so when it comes down to a discussion, hopefully the negotiation will reach an effective compromise in the interest of the Bahamian people.” 

“If it does not,  then it will have to go to a different tribunal or body to adjudicate the matter,” Dr. Sands said.     

The Minister said since the demonstration, he has had a very cordial conversation with the BNU President.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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