Govt 'can't support training 65 UWI physicians'

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.


Tribune Chief Reporter


HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands has suggested the government will not be able to support training for some 65 first year medical students enrolled at the University of the West Indies this year.

Dr Sands told reporters on Friday there was no way the government could support training for physicians at public or private facilities.

His comments came as he defended the decision to cap the number of subventions allocated to medical students at UWI, insisting the government has increased its investment in health care staff.

“This year there would have been 65 first year medical students,” he said, “there is no way that the Commonwealth of the Bahamas can support 65 physicians in training at our public or private healthcare facilities. At the same time, we’re having serious challenges providing nurses and so if we look at the investment of the Bahamian people there ought to be balance.

He continued: “That is what has happened, we have no reduction in the the investment, as a matter of fact we have increased the investment in our healthcare staff but what we have sought to do is bring balance, reason.

It was confirmed last month the government will cap subventions to medical students at the University of the West Indies to 25.

At the time, Dr Sands noted this number is the “historic norm” that has increased “outside of policy” over recent years.

He added that UWI was notified of this decision “well in advance” of this current school year yet continued to accept students “with the expectation” that the Bahamas government would pay their tuition.

Last week, Dr Sands reiterated that in the future the government will cap subventions to 25, he said it does not wish to "inconvenience" students currently matriculating at the Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados UWI campuses.

Dr Sands told reporters on Friday the decision to cap assistance at 25 students was an “issue of the glass half full, glass half empty”.

He insisted the Minnis administration’s holistic approach would bring balance to the level of government support afforded to all stakeholders in the healthcare system.

“The government of the Bahamas has made phenomenal investments in medical training over many, many years,” he said, “but we’ve recognized that the planning has been less than ideal. So that if you say that you’re going to train somebody, training doesn’t just involve medical school.

“It involves what comes after, so if you exhaust your budget on medical school then you cannot provide the training opportunities to get people over the finish line. So they can’t be certified, they cannot progress to advance the education and so many, many doctors find themselves stuck.

He continued: “In addition, if you invest only in doctors then you wind up with a problem with nurses or you don’t have enough physical therapists, or you don’t have enough occupational therapists. What we have decided to do as a government is to look holistically at the needs of the country and to balance the needs.

Dr Sands said: “We have to provide a health system which can provide for the needs of all patients, doctors alone do not provide healthcare. They require other people. So what we have decided to do is make sure anybody who we allow to get into the programme, we can guarantee they can finish.”


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 7 months ago

Good decision. Another good decision would be to only support those persons going into areas of medicine either currently or trending in future to have a shortfall

Also nurses whose education is supported by the govt must serve a minimum of two years in country in the profession post education. And education must be completed in a certain window. If they leave the country the money must be paid back to train another nurse for one full year for each year or part of year that they were subsidized.


DDK 4 years, 7 months ago

Does it only take two years for a nurse to train?


momoyama 4 years, 7 months ago

These dolts waive property taxes on the superwealthy (a laughable $50,000 cap on people who pay $500k and $600k property taxes back home), fail to collect millions of dollars of taxes on foreign owned properties throughout the country and dare not even whisper "income tax" (even 10 percent on those earning $100k and more) then turn around and claim to be broke - and stick it to the poor.


Porcupine 4 years, 7 months ago

So, momoyama, can you continue to post? We need a few more people who actually get it. The distractions and continued excuses in this country of why we cannot perform our duties and obligations grows old. Our national pastime seems to be to make excuses for our failures. Can anything change? Should we send our kids somewhere to be raised where they are led to believe that they Will succeed. Oh, we do this but they don't come home. Wonder why not?


bogart 4 years, 7 months ago

DEY IS TALKING BOUT BRINGING BALANCE REASON........ WELL MUDDA TEK SIC DRED....... ........REASON......BALANCE....... On one hand govt Ministers will tells ya all chillren dont mind dey immigration status must gets FREE EDUCATION........yinna done knows what goin on.........NO MATTER DEY STATUS.......DAS LIKE FREE PAID BY BAHAMIAN PORE PEOPLE VAT.... NOW ...on der other hand..BONA FIDE LEGIT BAHAMIANS....LIKE PORE PEOPLE CHILLRED STUDIES DA HARDEST TO BE ALL DEY CAN BE ....AN.....AN....AN.....DEY HAS NO pore people VAT money MONEY TO PAY UWI.....mudda tek sic ....!!!! So now pore people chillren done studying.BIO..CHEM...SCIENCE...but NOPlace fer dem....NOT EVEN IN THE FAMILY ISLAND NEVER SEEN DOCTOR SINCE WHEN.....???.......but rich people children studying abroad ....can come TOO...RETURN TO BAHAMAS AN FIND JOBS...IN PUBLIC OR PRIVATE...ACCOMODATED......???.?....mudda tek sic dred....tings real bad when ya pore....an bona fide Bahamian..!!!.


sheeprunner12 4 years, 7 months ago

Where are all of these Government-trained doctors????? ............ Why is there such a cry for medical experts in ALL of our hospitals and clinics???? ......... Retrain some of the Bahamians to do the work that the foreign doctors and nurses now do.


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