Doctors Still 'Left In The Dark' On Nhi Legislation


Dr. Duane Sands


Tribune Staff Reporter


LOCAL physicians are growing “increasingly sour” over the government’s handling of National Health Insurance and are still “just as much in the dark as the general public” over the scheme’s implementation, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Duane Sands said.

The former Free National Movement senator said with just four days before registration for NHI begins on January 18, doctors are still “no further along” in understanding NHI’s intimate details, much less the specifics of their proposed transition into being “employees of the state”.

Dr Sands also said he has not yet received a copy of the government’s draft legislation for National Health Insurance (NHI), despite the government recently announcing that the document has already received Cabinet approval.

The government has said the draft legislation would be released to the public before the end of this month.

Dr Sands said he formally wrote to Chief Medical Officer Dr Glen Beneby and NHI Project Manager Dr Delon Brennen requesting a copy of the draft legislation, but to no avail.

“The physicians’ sentiments (are) getting increasingly sour,” Dr Sands said. “I think that the sentiment, certainly among specialist physicians, is becoming increasingly suspicious of the government’s intention, and the specifics of what they intend to produce.

“We are no further along. We have no more information. There has been no signing on by physicians to this process. As a matter of fact, the date of the meeting with the government (and doctors) has been delayed until Saturday the 23rd. And so the physicians are just as much in the dark as the general public.”

Consequently, Dr Sands said local physicians cannot conclusively say whether they will accept the government’s proposition with regards to NHI, adding that the lack of information has made it “virtually impossible to speak (on the matter) except in general terms.”

“So we don’t know what we’re going to do, because we don’t know what’s going to be presented,” he said. “Imagine that you’re talking about reforming the entire healthcare system, and five days before you plan on doing that, you have not shared that information with the primary stakeholders in the industry? Who does that?”

Dr Sands added that the primary concerns doctors have about NHI do not relate to salaries.

“I believe that the majority of physicians are most concerned about the quality of care that they deliver to their patients, and that the overwhelming majority of physicians in this country believe in an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.”

NHI will be phased in over a five-year period, officials have said.

According to officials, the plan’s primary healthcare package will be rolled out in April.


TruePeople 4 years, 9 months ago

bey the gov't is in the dark, how can they enlighten anything for us?!?!?!?!?!


Islandgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

Go on strike. How can they force you into being civil servants? This plan is going to kill so many of us, and these bastards do not care. They need to be arrested for treason alone. God almighty. You doctors better not sign up for this. You are really our last hope between disaster and that stupid imbecile some elected as prime minister.


asiseeit 4 years, 9 months ago

The doctors and the insurance agency's need to stay the course and hold this criminal government accountable and force them to be transparent. They are our only hope of causing this idiotic government to see reason. Strike, walk out, do whatever you must but do not let this government ram this crap down our throats, PLEASE!


Honestman 4 years, 9 months ago

If the local physicians hold firm and refuse to "jump off the cliff in the dark" (which is effectively what the PLP is asking them to do) then this mad, rushed exercise in futility will be dead in its tracks. The Bahamas Insurance Association is leading the way by refusing any further co-operation with this government and the physicians need to do likewise. These jokers are trying to railroad through a major national undertaking using calculations on the back of an envelope from a friendly firm of consultants whose work has been widely discredited. It would be laughable were the implications for the country not so serious. If Christie and the PLP have their way they will kill off a healthy private health insurance industry, reduce the quality of health care for thousands of Bahamians (including civil servants) who are already adequately covered, contribute towards the early retirement of many of our best physicians, force an exodus of many of our best doctors to Florida and other more lucrative jurisdictions, grind the economy into a complete standstill with further taxation to support the madness, risk another rating downgrade and cause higher unemployment as the private sector struggles with an increased tax burden. ALL FOR WHAT? ALL BECAUSE THE PLP NEEDS TO BE SEEN TO BE DELIVERING TO THE GULLIBLE ON AT LEAST ONE ELECTION PROMISE. The physicians are our last hope. Refuse to sign up and force government to look afresh at healthcare in The Bahamas in a sensible and considered way. We all want better care for all of our citizens but this is not the way to go about it.


baclarke 4 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't agree with you more. The way I see it, due to the amount of funds that go missing and the wasting of money on various projects and kickbacks, why give them even more money to steal and waste with no real system of accountability in place?


Godson 4 years, 9 months ago

baclarke... please be careful what you say in terms of your rhetorical question: "why give them even more money to steal and waste with no real system of accountability in place?".... Why am cautioning you? It is because some persons might come up with an answer...


TalRussell 4 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Dr.. "Assassin of BahamaCARE" Duane is now regarded by the constituents of Elizabeth as a political clown with red underpants full of unelectable holes.
Yet, he seems be the main unelectable squeeze being salvaged by Dr. Minnis? Not so smart of a political protection move by Minnis.
Again, wasn't he too among the other red Party office holder contenders that convention delegates also recently rejected?
If you wish a complete list of the failed red power seekers - just ask.


Islandgirl 4 years, 9 months ago

This comment is irrelevant to the matter at hand. He is right on this. As perry and his panhandlers have presented this, with nothing new compared to what is already offered in the public system, no overseas care, no catastrophic care, but still want to take money out of my paycheck to pay for it (watch for it in July), there is no way they should be allowed to move forward on this. Thank you Dr. Duane Sands for leading on this. Doctors, please help us. Don't agree to or sign on with this. All it is is to try and fulfill one electoral promise. These are the same people who flooded us with all these numbers houses in spite of our protests and now look: more hungry, stressed, sick, poor and gambling addicted people. This plp government is the worst in modern Bahamian history.


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