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Doctors' Union Fears For Juniors And Interns

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Doctors Union yesterday raised alarm about the employment status of interns and junior doctors, claiming that over 30 interns and other junior physicians have received letters saying “that their services will no longer be required” as of today.

Last night, the Public Hospitals Authority responded to the BDU in a brief statement, saying the doctors’ internships had come to an end.

“The PHA wishes to advise that the one-year internship period commenced by the interns on July 1, 2019 ends on June 30, 2020. The one-year internship arrangement is a requirement for licensure,” PHA said. PHA did not say if the doctors will be kept on after this period.

Calling the move heartless and “a travesty”, the union said it was unfortunate and “incomprehensible that the goodwill and sacrifice of so many frontline physicians could be rewarded with such avarice and apathy”.

BDU said despite the challenges faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers never wavered from their commitment to care for patients.

“It’s unfortunate, as a frontline worker during this entire COVID-19 pandemic many of these unsung heroes are left with no job and financial insecurities,” the union said. “The government promised that there will be no job loss as a result of this pandemic. However, the Public Hospitals Authority has indicated to doctors, plans to make some positions redundant and not renew contracts. How is this a just reward?”

In April, some 100 healthcare workers were ordered to self-isolate after they were exposed to a patient with COVID-19 on Princess Margaret Hospital’s surgical ward.

Noting that some of the workers included medical interns, the union said yesterday the trainees were told by officials their internship had not been completed as a result of their forced confinement.

“This is now the end of their internship period, June 30, 2020 and they are being told that their internship is not complete due to the two weeks they were off for mandatory quarantine practices,” BDU added.

“They were told that they should volunteer to work until July 13, 2020 which can be used to make up for their quarantine days with no salary guarantee during that time period—any logical thinking person would have considered this time an industrial accident.”

In view of this, BDU asked of officials: “Where is the compassion? Where is their heart?”

BDU continued: “This is an example of the disconnect that exists between the Public Hospitals Authority and the government. On one hand the government has stated that they will do their best to retain jobs, however PHA has informed over 30 interns and other junior physicians that their services will no longer be required as of July 1, 2020.

“These actions are a travesty and will be indelibly marked on the legacy of this administration as a failure to protect those that gave so much for The Bahamas.”

Comments

geostorm 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Ms, please go sit down. You union leaders love trying to take advantage of the government! An internship is just that........ an internship. The government is under no obligation to hire anyone on an internship. The purpose of an internship is to help those on it to gain the neccesary skills so that they qualify for the conditions of their degree/work. Furthermore, if they missed 2 weeks of their internship they need to put in the two weeks so that they qualify.

Once they meet the requirements of their internship, they are free to find work elsewhere. That's how it works all across the private sector. So the union needs to stop with all of this b.s.!

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ohdrap4 3 months, 3 weeks ago

While it does anger me that they are being asked to work for free. Just like teachers. Enslaved by their own people!! They have to suck it up and put in the 2 weeks.

But no, they cannot go work as a doctor yet. They need to work under supervision of a doctor for a number of years before getting a license.

Even before Covid, they would have to wait for quite a while before finding a placement.

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killemwitdakno 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Imagine that we might have had facilities fitted enough to not need to shut down completely if that money always went to care before salary demands!

Let's change the healthcare system by hiring only volunteers in exchange for supplying their livelihoods. Free food, rent, insurance and more. Farmers, construction, and all those suppliers would be willing to build free homes as they'll also receive healthcare in return. The new tithes, pay your doctors, farmers, and construction workers to create national provisions.

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JokeyJack 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe some of the Mexicans who were flown into Abaco today are also doctors? Yinnah take-out food place - if you start getting calls seeing if yall is sell taco, check da number and see if it be PMH :-)

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