Several nurses calling in sick at Sandilands

Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff


Tribune Chief Reporter


BAHAMAS Nurses Union president Amancha Williams confirmed that a number of nurses, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, called in sick at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre yesterday.

The situation, she said, is part of a larger ongoing healthcare “crisis” due to rising virus cases in New Providence.

“This isn’t industrial action,” she told The Tribune. “The nurses are actually sick.”

The Public Hospitals Authority confirmed yesterday that 14 nurses called in sick. The entity said a statement would be released on the matter, but one was not issued up to press time. According to the BNU president, several nurses were exposed to the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus while on the job.

She said the union has had to visit the homes of some nurses to deliver care packages because they remain at home attempting to self-medicate.

“They were exposed and they are not being tested and they are having symptoms. So it is said that if you’re having symptoms you must remain home.

“These persons are waiting for results. Some of them were tested and are still waiting for results after seven to 10 days, two weeks, they haven’t heard anything and they have had to go privately, pay their funds to be tested. They are still waiting on employee health to help them.

“…They are only testing the patient and they are not testing the staff and the staff is going home to their relatives and infecting their relatives.

“It’s not a joke, this is a real crisis,” Ms Williams, pictured, added. “Right now the nurses are anxious. Their anxiety levels are high and no one is looking at the nurse and their needs.

“I know two nurses that called me that showed up to Princess Margaret Hospital and were sent back home. So they’re home self-medicating and so God help us because nurses are managing nurses and so for me as a president I have went to the homes where husband and wife are not well. I have taken them little care packages left at the front door, even the zinc which we know is being used to build up the immune system. These are the things that the president and the executive team are doing. We are at a critical state right now.”

In addition to the ailing health of some nurses, Ms Williams claimed they are being treated poorly by administrative officials.

“We have nurses being asked to use her vacation time to quarantine. Everything is hinging on the nurse and we are asking where is our government? Now they are saying that no nurse that works for PHA must take vacation. A nurse called me the other day saying nobody here is going to have vacation.

“They revoked the vacation without even informing them and there is vacation to start Monday. How can they do this? The nurses aren’t being compensated or provided with any benefits.

“They’ve promised compensation from March. This is now September and not one extra dollar has been given. All that is going on in The Bahamas you have not given the nurse over time and she has worked seven days out, seven days in.

“It is not fair and then they ask why is the union president making noise?”

Earlier this month, Mrs Williams said some nurses are burnt out and discouraged from volunteering their services due to the way health officials are organising the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, Mrs Williams said nurses are willing to work, but are tired of the way they have been treated during the course of the outbreak.

Her statement came days after several doctors, nurses and technicians at Princess Margaret Hospital walked off the job due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

In April, then Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the vulnerability of healthcare workers as almost one in every five confirmed cases has been a medical professional.


bogart 3 years, 8 months ago

The crises that the Nurses and Doctors and all Medical Front line workers needs to have new Work Rules and Procedures. The Covid without a Vaccine or cure clearly changes archaic pre Work Rules and Procedures, Work assistances, time off, financial assistance when medicals not immediately from govt etcetc. Labour Laws, workplace safety conditions, insura nces coverages etcetc needs to be immediately reviewed to give help and comfort to health workers.


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