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Dr. Duane Sands (2)

The Princess Margaret Hospital’s (PMH) undergoing a renaissance in health and that calls for breaking up the existing model and starting over.

On the infrastructural front, beds have been taken out of commission, the children’s and maternity wards have been redeveloped and a new Cat Scan is to be installed.

Speaking on the financial woes of the facility, Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands said for one, there is  a policy that dictates that civil servants do not have to pay. However, the plan is to change that.

“What we want is to ensure that no one comes out of pocket, but the hospital and the medical staff can now send a bill to the insurance company, eliminate the co-pay, we’ll cover the co-pay,” he said. 

“This will ensure that  the hospital  has the funds to provide a maintenance contract on the brand new Cat Scanner that we’re going to be installing, to provide a maintenance contract on an air-conditioning system, to provide a maintenance contract on the new Ultrasound machines and further training for our staff,” he added.

Dr. Sands acknowledged that  only some of the staff  are buying into what he is  seeking to do.

“You have persons that are now bruised, damaged, feel underappreciated, disrespected,” he said.

“They have seen promises come and go, they have seen politicians come and go, and the expectation is, this Sands “fella” ain’t no different than none of the rest.

“He going to come, he’ s going to give us a sweet story and then when he either is voted out, or when he decides to leave, we’re going to be in the same position.

“The devil is a liar, Princess Margaret Hospital, the Public Hospitals  Authority and the health care system in The Bahamas is going to be transformed. We have started the process,” said Dr. Sands.

That aside, in recent weeks, the Minister has also been under fire having to address the longstanding concerns of the Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA).

Dr. Sands confirmed  while a guest on the Love97/JCN weekly talk show Jones and Co on Sunday, that the CPSA’s non-economic concerns have all been agreed.

Now, comes the financial end of things –stipends, salaries, on -all allowances, malpractice coverage, health insurance etc.

The government’s position is that it’s determined to resolve the impasse, but it must of course consider the realities of the public purse.

The Minister has stressed then that while it would be wonderful to compensate the doctors and nurses at first world rates, the government’s unable to and therein lies the challenge.

Yet, the government is minded, he said, to  make some positive movement to accede to some of the CPSA’s demands. 

“The issue will be that you need to be able to deliver on what is committed and what is promised, and it makes no sense making a promise that you have no way of financing,” he said. 

“For instance, there are many many demands on the Public Hospital Authority. 

“In the budget  for  2018/2019 fiscal year, the amount allotted  to the PHA was $216 million.  The request was for approximately $256 million, and so out of the gate, you’re starting from a deficit position,” Dr. Sands said.

As for National Health Insurance (NHI), Minister Sands promises that more will be said about this in a few weeks.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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