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MASS SICKOUT HITS HOSPITALS: Workers strike over being omitted from ‘COVID payments’

Princess Margaret Hospital. (File photo)

Princess Margaret Hospital. (File photo)

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SERVICES at public hospitals were severely affected yesterday by a sickout involving staff who have not received honorariums.

An even wider work stoppage could happen today, The Tribune understands, with staff from the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and the Emergency Medical Services teams in Grand Bahama among those who may call in sick. “It’s going to be a long weekend,” one healthcare professional said.

Another source estimated that 150 to 200 workers did not show up for work. It is understood workers will demand a meeting with top health officials.

No worker showed up yesterday at the morgue, which is currently operating way beyond maximum capacity.

“Nobody is there to receive the dead, to log them in properly or to receive them,” one source said.

Bahamas Public Service Union representatives declined to comment. However, the Public Hospitals Authority said in a statement that the sick out began affecting services at 8am yesterday. PHA said the public should expect delays accessing services at institutions and should seek services at a later time.

“PMH laboratory services, radiology and diagnostics have reported staff shortages resulting in delays in services. The morgue (Rand Lab) has suspended services until further notice,” PHA said.

“At the Rand Memorial Hospital (in Grand Bahama), laboratory services are reporting staff shortages, resulting in a delay in services. Phlebotomy services have been severely impacted and blood donation services have been suspended. GBHS Community Health Services staff shortages have impacted pharmacy services at Eight Mile Rock, Hawksbill, Freeport Community Clinic and Pearce Plaza. At this time pharmacy services is facilitating in-patient services, children, and emergencies only at the Freeport Community Clinic, IAT Building, East Atlantic Drive.”

The statement said Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre continues to provide services to patients uninterrupted.

The Ministry of Health announced last month that frontline staff workers who were promised honorariums for their services at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic would receive their money. Health Minister Renward Wells has said the pay ranges from about $1,000 to $5,000, adding that the government allocated $3m for the gift.

On Tuesday, Mr Wells said all honorariums have been paid.

“The honorariums were not for every healthcare worker. It was a gift from the government initially for those who worked directly on the frontlines in regards to COVID,” he said.

“Those decisions (on) individuals who were chosen for the honorarium was done by those who are the supervisors in the requisite sectors of the healthcare sector who would’ve put forward their members and said these are the heroes and ‘sheroes’ who worked on the frontlines in regard to COVID-19 and the government by then would’ve issued the requisite compensation to these individuals.

“The head of sections along with the committee inside health determine which each individual was entitled to. Remember now, the government initially said that there were those who were having a challenge with folks in the healthcare sector stepping forward to put their names on the frontlines to deal with COVID. So, this was an incentive to try and incentivise the healthcare sector to step forward,” Mr Wells said.

However, BPSU President Kimsley Ferguson has insisted the matter remains unresolved. He said this week that auxiliary nurses, housekeeping staff, patient care attendants and people from the radiology, EMS and lab departments are among those who have not been paid.

Some PHA staff are said to be confused by what constitutes “frontline workers” and who deserves honorariums amid unconfirmed internal reports that some people who work at the Ministry of Health’s headquarters on Meeting Street and secretaries were among those who have received honorariums. 

Comments

John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Renward Wells has now resorted to telling bold and blatant and siimply outright and outrageous lies about the vaccines and shamelessly so. In a press interview Wells said (Bahamians) should take the vaccines for themselves, their families and their country. He went on to LIE that countries that are taking the vaccines are seeing declining cases whilst countries that are not taking the vaccines are seeing surges in new cases and deaths. This is a lie. ALL the highest vaccinated countries are seeing uncontrollable surges. The US, for example has FOUR times more new cases than any other country. Florida and Texas account for half the new cases and Florida has more new cases than THIRTY ONE other states combined. Wanna guess where our high infections are coming from? Why they dumping vaccines on other countries and can’t show they are working. That the vaccines are gaining positive results? Likewise in France, Israel, the UK that are highly vaccinated. Uncontrollable spikes. Israel has already fished out a third jab and just last night the CDC gave approval for at risk Americans to start receiving a third jab. Renward Wells is now challenged to name one single country or population that is highly vaccinated and they are having declining numbers or even a flattened curve. Likewise he is asked to name the countries that are not vaccinated and have sharp spikes in their numbers of new cases and not a flattened curve or declining that. Failing that, Wells must apologize to the Bahamian people and resign. Stop playing with people’s lives.

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The Tribune basically did the same thing on page 10 of yesterday's (August 12) edition of its newspaper. Nearly that entire page was devoted to an undated article written by two foreign doctors to encourage vaccination by purporting to debunk the current major myths about the warp speed developed experimental vaccines.

The Tribune downloaded the article from a website (theconversation.com) that is about as pro-vaccination as they come. The two foreign doctors sounded more like representatives of the WHO/PAHO engaged to aggressively promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccines while playing down all of the risks involved in getting the jabs, especially the unknown potentially harmful long-term side-effects. Some of their debunking views were all too clearly not grounded in the current science. Oh well, what can you say.

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This mass sickout of hospital workers is just another very harmful consequence of the grossly corrupt and incompetent Minnis led FNM administration's penchant for governing by making ill-advised promises to civil servants and doling out 'candy' on a willy-nilly basis. Ill-advised promises and the willy-nilly doling out of 'candy' to any group of civil servants in the runnup to a national general election only invites other group's to jump on the bandwagon at a time when a significant portion of every payment being made by government is adding to the external component of our already unsustainable national debt.

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DDK 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Believe it or not I fear "things" can only get worse. There is nothing or no-one to rein in the massive corruption and civil decay......

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Emilio26 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So do you think the Davis led PLP would've done any better?

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

See my 4th post below after this one.

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ConchFretter 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Risk of dying from COVID if unvaccinated remains at 1-2%, all takers. Risk of dying from COVID after being fully vaccinated is 0.01% (approx 1 in 10,000).

At the start of this pandemic, the thought was vaccines would PREVENT infection in those vaccinated. That is not the case. But vaccination does severely decrease the risk of hospitalization and of dying from COVID.

Take a look at Iceland, which is 93% vaccinated and still having a COVID surge with regards to detection (proof that the vaccinated can get and transmit COVID). Yet their hospitalization and death rates are very low. So, vaccinations do work with regards to COVID hospitalization and death prevention.

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

One of the major problems is the apparent limited duration of efficacy and ongoing effectiveness of the vaccines for those who have been jabbed. The initially vaccinated appear destined to become needy members of big pharma's newly created Vaccine Dependent Global Society. The lucky ones who were infected, did not become seriously ill, and fully recovered, seem to have developed a stronger and more lasting natural immunity (still being studied), although the vaccine manufacturers, the CDC, NIH, and other government controlled public health organizations around the world, would all have us believe otherwise.

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JokeyJack 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And why exactly would we want to prevent death at this point? You want to wear 4 masks? LOL

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KapunkleUp 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Another cluster f**k in the making. Courtesy of our most honorable and trusted leadership.

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John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Why are the cruise ships still coming ifThe Bahamas such high risk? Last year the State Department had a travel advisory against this country with far less cases? Why did The Bahamas receive half of the vaccines given to the entire Caribbean when it has one of the smallest populations? What will be the side effects of persons who take third doses of the vaccine? What happens when the efficacy of that booster shot starts to wear off? There are over 2,000 active cases in this country. Who are monitoring the ones who are not in hospital or too ill to move around? Are they isolating and quarantined? And what about people who recovered? Are they advised that they now have natural immunity to the virus and do not need to take the vaccines in the short term? How accurate are the statistics on vaccinated persons who become ill or die. Their symptoms are different and they may continue to test negative even when is hospital. In fact some will not be diagnosed with Covid or even have it listed as cause of death unless there are CY scans of lungs and other organs. The divide and conquer between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is wreaking havoc. And especially attempting to find lace blame and make persons feel guilty if someone in their household gets ill or dies from the virus and they are not vaccinated.

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DJBarr 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The spike of Covid cases in US are primarily due to the Covid infected immigrants coming across the border. The government is loading these immigrants onto busses and planes and shipping them all over the country. A lot of these have been sent to Florida and many stay in Texas. So far this year 1.1 million immigrants have crossed the US border.

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ConchFretter 10 months, 2 weeks ago

How are these immigrants, who are being sent to DETENTION CENTERS, the primary source of COVID spikes? And no mention of the Florida and Texas governors preventing mask mandates which would help stop the spread?

The infectious immigrant trope is a classic. https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-05-2...">https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-05-2...

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John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually i was referring to the post above yours. When he is trying to blame immigrants for the spread in the US. When the US couldn’t control its numbers even under Trump because of politics and the fact that people refused to follow safety protocols. And then there’s the ever flip flopping advice of Anthony Fauci.

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ConchFretter 10 months, 2 weeks ago

My misinterpretation as to which post you were referring. My error and my apologies.

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proudloudandfnm 10 months, 2 weeks ago

According to who? Fox? OAN? Newsmax?

Idiotic....

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually all of your favourites including CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc., etc., not to mention New York Times, Washington Post and so on. The story has been all over the main news outlets for the past week or so. lol

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proudloudandfnm 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The spikes in the US are due to republican governors doing everything they can to promote the spread and to anti maskers and their idiocy.

Immigrants have nothing to do with it....

Amazing how a right wing politician can just make something up and the very next day right wing media will bend over backwards to back up that lie...

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And I bet you also believe the thousands of Haitian nationals who illegally entered our country over the past 18 months or so each week were all COVID-19 free. If you go any further left you will soon be headed right without even knowing it. lol

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hrysippus 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The adage goes; "Free tings kill Nassau people." These hots pit workers want their tings, right now, too as well.

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John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

TWENTY NINE passengers and crew tested positive on board a Carnival cruise just as it was about to enter a port. THEY WERE ALL VACCINATED! Based on population density that is the equivalent of 290 people testing positive in a single day. In fact it is even more critical because it’s NOT 290 persons testing positive amongst the general population but 290 people testing positive amongst the vaccinated in a single day!

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John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And since they claim that only 1/3 of Bahamians are vaccinated, and if you do the extrapolation that is the equivalent of 870 persons testing positive in tThe Bahamas in a single day amongst the general population. Vaccines my foot and not even that!

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JokeyJack 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I had some invisible leprechaun spit fall on my foot last week.

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mandela 10 months, 2 weeks ago

No transparency, no accountability, no honesty, my Father how hard is it to give persons what they deserve and was promised, but NO, let me pay me, my chauffeur, and my aid all who were nowhere near the frontline because during the time this dishonest government made this thrown out there agreement Dr. Sand was minister of health SO HOW CAN MINISTER WELLS AND HIS PEOPLE BE PAID. CROOKS ALL A DEM. This is the very same thing the IMF is talking about, CORRUPTION and GREED, he needs to resign, that amounts to corruption PURE AND SIMPLE

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proudloudandfnm 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Renward's driver and personal assistant got an honorarium????

Damn....

That's some crooked crap....

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ohdrap4 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I wonder who they will share the loot with.

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tribanon 10 months, 2 weeks ago

My God man, where have you been?!!

Ever since May 2017 this corrupt Minnis-led FNM administration has been taking care of 'its own' on an unprecedented huge scale never dreamed possible by previous corrupt FNM and PLP administrations alike. Minnis in less than 5 years is responsible for nearly 40% of the total amount of our national debt plus unfunded entitlements built up over the 48-year period since July 1973.

Minnis has taken every advantage of both Dorian and COVID-19 to borrow like there's no tomorrow, and what is there to show the Bahamian people for the massive increase in our nation's debt. Just think about that for a quiet moment with the more sensible 'right' side of your brain.

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