Doctors could strike as early as next week

Doctors could strike as early as next week

96% vote in favour of withdrawing services at state-run facilities

Healthcare at state-run facilities might be in jeopardy as physicians employed with the Public Hospital’s Authority voted overwhelmingly on Friday to withdraw their services.

President of the Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) Dr Locksley Munroe, told Eyewitness News the vote was necessary after months of protesting and lobbying for better conditions fell on deaf ears.

According to Dr. Munroe, 96 per cent of the senior doctors who participated in the strike vote, voted in favour of withdrawing their services, and that includes doctors in the family islands. More specifically, of the 78 that voted, 75 voted in favour of the strike.

He said doctors could strike as early as next week.

“We have a meeting with the Department of Labour next week and then the PHA next week and those meetings will determine whether or not we have to take that ultimate step,” he said.

“And this means most of the decisions made in the hospitals are made by us. Junior doctors follow instructions from us so when you remove the senior level, the real comprehensive decisions that can make the difference between outcomes will be out the health care system.”

Last month, just one day after junior doctors and nurses protested outside the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) – senior doctors and consultants threatened industrial action as the CPSA gave the government an ultimatum, “respect us” or else.

Mounting concerns ranging from faulty air-conditioning units, lack of essential medical supplies and simple respect have led the senior doctors to take a stand.

Executives of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) then met with junior doctors who protested in an effort to “ease the tension” as it was announced recently that there is no money left in the budget to meet their demands.

PHA Managing Director Catherine Weech said while the discussions were amicable, there is not much that can be done at this time to address their concerns of pay increases, deteriorating working conditions and other benefits.