Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A representative of junior doctors in the public sector raised alarm yesterday about the employment status and future of more than a dozen junior doctors but Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said no one is being terminated.
Dr Sands said the government has given financial clearance to hire some junior doctors as senior house operators (SHO). Others not promoted to the position at this moment will remain acting SHOs in the meantime, he said.
“The law doesn’t allow you to hire someone before you receive financial clearance for those people,” he said.
Those not being promoted will report to work as usual as the government looks for appropriate posts in the public healthcare system for them along with the financial clearance needed to promote them to the positions, he added.
Dr Melisandre Bassett, head of the Bahamas Doctors Union, said in an interview with Eyewitness News that at least 20 doctors faced an uncertain employment future during this Christmas season.
“These are junior doctors that would have been employed since July operating in the capacity that they are operating now,” she said. “(PHA) refuse to give them a contract, refuse to hire them but kept them lingering on all of this time without paying them at the rate they should have been paid.”
BDU officials said the doctors have been functioning as SHOs without a contract for six months and are now owed back pay.
Dr Sands said he could not verify what the acting SHOs make but did not dismiss the possibility that they still make intern salaries.