Junior doctors on contract won’t get holiday lump sum

Junior doctors on contract won’t get holiday lump sum
PHA Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Junior doctors who have yet to be made permanent and pensionable will be excluded from receiving the $1,400 lump sum payment from the government this month, according to the Public Hospital Authority (PHA).

In a letter to the Bahamas Doctors Union today, PHA Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows made clear the lump sum payment will only apply to permanent and pensionable junior doctors.

Those under contract, as well as interns, will be excluded from the process, he said.

The BDU and PHA recently clashed after the union claimed the government intended to terminate 20 junior doctors who the authority reportedly refused to provide contracts, “but kept them lingering on all of this time without paying them at the rate they should have paid”.

The PHA and Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands has denied the termination claims, and said the authority was in the process of undertaking a matching program where eligible junior doctors are being sought to transition to senior house officers for appointments in New Providence and Grand Bahama public health facilities.

In the letter, Burrows said due to a delay in confirmation of funding for the exercise, the lump sum payments to eligible junior doctors would be made through a separate direct deposit to their bank accounts instead of through the regular payroll process.

He said the authority expects that the transactions will occur simultaneously with the posting of salaries to each staff member’s account and as such, “there should be no financial encumbrance.”

Additionally, Burrows noted that due to tight timeframes involved in completing the transaction, the PHA will be unable to conduct a full assessment of each junior doctor to determine whether there is a need for prorating any of the gross amount awarded.

The letter read: “As a result, it is the PHA’s intention to make full payments of $1,400 to each eligible staff, then conduct a review in early January 2020 with a view of recouping any overpayments in a one-time claw back.

“We appreciate the efforts of the junior doctors during this calendar year and look forward to further collaboration during the New Year.

The letter added: “Happy holidays to you, your executive team and to all members of the Bahamas Doctors Union.”