By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and the Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) yesterday announced an agreement in principle to all aspects of a proposed five-year industrial agreement.
In a joint statement yesterday, the two sides said the agreement, which retroactively covers July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2021, seeks to reflect the “best interests of healthcare delivery and the Bahamian people”.
The process to complete negotiations was finalised last Friday, according to officials.
The agreement covers the 130-plus consultant physicians engaged by the PHA, who practice within the public hospitals and select clinics managed by the Department of Public Health.
CPSA president Locksley Munroe said his association is committed to ensuring that high quality healthcare is delivered to the Bahamian public.
He said the industrial proposal that was developed during negotiations with the PHA seeks to ensure that this level of care is not only sustainable, but that it continues to improve in the future.
“The proposal addresses some 200 clauses which, by and large, we were able to agree to with the PHA rather smoothly,” he is quoted as saying in a press release. “We have also now agreed to the financial clauses that were a point of contention however, we appreciate the economic climate of our country at this time and note that this was by no means the main objective of our industrial agreement.”
Dr Munroe added: “We expect that this agreement will allow senior physicians to have a more vital role in delivering healthcare, partnering with the PHA in the decision-making processes of our healthcare system.”
Meanwhile, PHA deputy managing director and lead negotiator Tyrone Burrows said the PHA continues to maintain open dialogue with the CPSA and all other unions with whom it partners with.
He added that without cooperation at every level, PHA would be unable to deliver on its mandate to provide quality healthcare for all Bahamians.
The CPSA ended their industrial action earlier this month, bringing a close to a lengthy dispute it had with the PHA.
Doctors had been fighting for an increase to their base salary, health insurance benefits and a pension plan.
Late last month, PHA facilities were placed under emergency protocol for more than a week due to the dispute, causing residents seeking elective procedures to be turned away.
Senior members of the association credited Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ intervention as being critical in resolving the dispute.
When he met CPSA representatives, Dr Minnis pledged to increase their base salary from $48,000 to $60,000 and to provide them with health insurance benefits.