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Physicians: There has not been consultation

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Consultant Physicians Staff Association has again raised concern over the lack of consultation between healthcare workers and the government on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association also said some of the government’s new travel policies should be revised given the nation’s current health crisis.

In a statement released yesterday, CPSA President Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said despite the significant roles medical workers play, physicians are still not being engaged in “meaningful dialogue” with government officials on the way forward from the pandemic.

It’s a situation that has disheartened workers.

“Our healthcare institutions and healthcare workers continue to be challenged during this pandemic,” she said. “The recent suspension of some hospital-based services negatively impacted our ability to provide patient care. Physicians continue to have workplace exposures while being on the frontlines with rising COVID-19 cases. Yet we continue to be excluded from meaningful engagement with policymakers to discuss strategies to reduce the burden of COVID-19 on us, our healthcare systems and the public at large.”

With the country now battling its third wave of infections, the association said there is a need for all parties to work together to develop wise strategies to help defeat the virus.

The CSPA said while it supports the continuance of current health measures, it does not agree with the government’s plans to remove the COVID-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.

This is due to several reasons, the group added. Key among them is the limited data on vaccinated people’s ability to transmit the virus if they contract it.

“The most recent data presented by the Ministry of Health indicated the likelihood of variant strains in the country which may increase the risk of transmission and the potential for more severe COVID-19 illness,” the CPSA president added.

“It may also impact our vaccination campaign as some vaccines may work well on some strains but are less effective on others. Additionally, the data confirmed that most of our Covid-19 cases were related to international travel. This information is particularly important for us to ponder as our country is preparing to allow fully vaccinated international travellers to enter our borders without COVID testing and will remove COVID testing for vaccinated persons wishing to travel throughout our islands.

“The CPSA would like to recommend that due to the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in countries globally, testing should still be a requirement beyond May 1, 2021. The government may also consider further incorporation of rapid antigen tests in the travel protocol, subsidisation of PCR testing or liaising with labs for cost reduction. Further support and strengthening of contact tracing protocols are also a necessity.”

The CPSA also said even though vaccines do not offer full protection against the virus, the benefits of getting vaccinated still far outweighs the disadvantages.

Dr Pinder-Butler said: “We understand the importance of revitalising our economy, given the financial and social challenges faced by thousands of Bahamians and residents. However, reopening our borders and reducing COVID-19 restrictions without establishing an appropriate balance between the health and the economy of The Bahamas, will ultimately result in the sacrifices of not only physicians and other healthcare workers, but also the law-abiding public, to be in vain. The CPSA hopes that going forward we are meaningfully engaged as an integral part of the fight against COVID-19.”

On Monday, Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, chairperson of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee, responded to health professionals’ concerns surrounding the new policy, explaining the government is relying on the latest science.

She noted that while the research is ongoing, if fully vaccinated people do transmit the virus, it does not produce significant illness.

Total COVID cases in the country rose to 10,283 after 63 new cases were confirmed on Monday, with 51 of those cases on New Providence, eleven on Grand Bahama and one on Bimini and Cat Cay.

Of this figure, 613 cases are still active. Meanwhile, 52 people are said to be in hospital sick with the virus.

Comments

tribanon 1 year, 3 months ago

THE Consultant Physicians Staff Association has again raised concern over the lack of consultation between healthcare workers and the government on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnis doesn't have time for a consultation with these physicians about their latest COVID-19 concerns. He's much too busy soliciting funds for the upcoming election campaign rallies of the FNM candidates whom he says he will surely lead to a win in their respective constituencies. COVID-19 will just have to take a backseat. lol

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

What a pity, from Sandilands, Doctors Knowles and Christie are not able to relate the massive size and severity of mental illnesses upon law abiding Bahamians, due to curfews, cruel world war Covid Police, restrictions, and fear of the competant authority. I have dialogued with them and it is not good at all.

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DWW 1 year, 3 months ago

how many of the physicians have refused to take their jab? is this why they still have concerns? meanwhile the rest of the country is suffering intense financial hardships... Do no harm right?

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hrysippus 1 year, 3 months ago

We are in the midst of a pandemic. it would make sense to consult with Epidemiologists but I doubt that the country has one. The Physicians were not consulted? Well neither were the plumbers or mechanics, so what?

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 3 months ago

110% agree. How on Earth could they NOT consult medical professionals? That would have been the very FIRST person they should have consulted back on day one. This entire mess started as a Medical issue. The lack of intelligence from this Administration has no limits.

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tribanon 1 year, 3 months ago

We have the arrogance of Minnis to blame in great part because he thinks he's a know-it-all medical doctor, but little does he know.

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stillwaters 1 year, 3 months ago

Consult them.....do they have answers nobody else worldwide has? The science here is not complicated or complex.....simply how to keep the damn virus out of your own damn body......how damn difficult is that ?????

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tribanon 1 year, 3 months ago

Keep in mind it's an invisible microscopic virus which makes even the wearing of most affordable face masks absolutely meaningless from the standpoint of protecting the wearer. Many of these super tiny Wuhan virus critters could comfortably sit on the sharp tip of a needle which is why they so easily float around in the air and can pass through most masks except the very expensive medical ones used in biological lab research facilities.

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