July 21, 2021
THE Bahamas Doctors Union president has said that there are doctor shortages within the public healthcare system while calling on the government to reveal that some 40 recently graduated interns have "been sent home" and a handful of physicians were "terminated."
She took exception to the government’s “boasting” that there has been “no layoffs within the civil service.”
In a statement issued to The Tribune yesterday, Dr Melisande Bassett said shortages of doctors will affect service.
“It is sad, but more importantly untrue, to mislead the public by stating the generalisation that the government, or most government agencies, have not had any layoffs or redundancies,” Dr Bassett said. “While many areas of government lend themselves to misstatement and innuendo, public health is one of those areas where if we are honest and tell the patients and the public the truth, they can believe us, and face, honestly face, the challenges that flow therefrom.
“The public is not and should not be taken for fools. If there are severe shortages of doctors which there are, then admit it and say so. If the shortage is due to failure to engage the newly graduated senior house officers, then admit it and let the public know why. If we were already short staffed and still terminated seven physicians, then admit to it and say so.
“If recently graduated interns around 40 were sent home, then admit it, and say so.
“Let us be honest and admit that the already overburdened health system, caused by nurse and doctor shortages with the added COVID pandemic, has only further strained an overburdened system.”
Recently former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands, in an interview about the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections, mentioned the exhaustion staff at the public hospital face due to long shifts and shortage of staff.
Bahamas Nurses Union president, Amancha Williams, has also complained about the shortage of nurses at the hospital adding to exhaustion because of long shifts, especially when there is an influx of patients when COVID-19 infection numbers escalate.
“One does not have to be a genius or rocket scientist to figure out that physician shortage affects the delivery of services,” Dr Bassett continued. “This is evidenced in Accident and Emergency and the long wait time to see a doctor. A reduced physician staff means less anesthesiologists to assist in surgeries, less physicians to assist in deliveries (and) attend to admitted patients, so the public suffers
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