Categorized | National News

PHA Owes Doctors $5 Million

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands revealed that the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) is indebt of $5 million to more than 400 doctors, each owed $2,500.  

Dr. Sands revealed this information yesterday while appearing on Love 97’s Issues of the Day radio talk show where he responded to the junior doctors’ strike for holiday pay as promised in their industrial agreement.

Dr. Sands said PHA has been having the issue of verifying the time worked by the doctors.

“How do you determine who would’ve worked on holidays and weekends? Do you base it on a register?  Do you base it on a statement from the doctor?” he asked.

Then, Dr. Sands said there is the issue of the years the doctors have been working at the hospital.

“Some doctors have been working a longer period and just start working there and that is something the party has not agreed,” he said.  

“PHA had agreed to put a lump sum to every doctor the same amount and then to move it forward to pay it proactively.”

This problem has been made impossible for the parties to agree on the exact amount to pay individuals. 

Moving forward, Dr. Sands will look into possibly having an independent third private party to look at the facts and direct negotiations.

He found the strike to be “unfortunate” as it impacts patients and the general public. 

“There’s now an incredibly for a matter that’s already agreed. This is an acknowledged debt. It is going to be paid. The issue is how do you pay it?”  

When asked if he will settle the negotiation yesterday, as union leaders have demanded, he said he cannot “categorically” say.

“I will give this my attention and the full bread of this ministry to get this resolved as quickly as possible,” Dr. Sands said. 

“I can’t instruct the unions to return, to work. I can only demonstrate the good faith, willingness of my office.”

Wednesday morning, junior doctors stood in the rain for their strike. 

President of the Doctors Union Dr. Melisande Bassett noted that all non-essential services were removed and only emergency staff remained on the job. 

The strike will continue until holiday pay is negotiated. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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