A crackdown in the public healthcare system is looming as the nation’s top health official went on record Monday stating that government is seeking to rid the industry of “freeloaders who show up occasionally but take home the same pay as doctors who go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Sands told Eyewitness News Online, “there is a small group of consultant physicians who have done a lot to poison the water and that group needs to be dealt with because Bahamians are entitled to get value for their hard-earned money.”
According to Sands, the crackdown will herald an overhaul of the entire healthcare industry.
The exercise will not only seek to weed out underperforming staff, but it will also address staffing, benefits and infrastructure issues.
“We have to deal with issues of compensation, we have to deal with issues of malpractice, and issues of equipment failures, lack of equipment and out dated equipment. That is the commitment – to take this broken-down health system and move it forward,” he said.
Sands confirmed that modernizing the healthcare industry will involve stepping away from an age-old model introduced to the country by Britain during the 1950’s.
“What we have to do now is ask whether the model which was created in the 1950’s still works,” he said.
“This idea that we have taken this system and forced it into the Bahamas and think that it will still work is an idea that we now need to abandon and consider looking at a different model.
According to Sands, the proposed model will introduce enhanced training for young doctors so that they can cater to the specific healthcare demands.
“We want to see to it that every doctor who enters the healthcare sector is on an upward path of self-development and professional development, so that all physicians get a core competency which allows them to go into the community as a practicing clinician or they become a specialist in whatever field they choose,” stated Sands.
“But that choice is matched to the needs of the Bahamian public.”
He continued, “We have vacancies in Mangrove Cay, we have a need in Kemp’s Bay, we have challenges in Spanish Wells; so, if the Bahamian people are paying to train doctors, then it is perfectly reasonable that our human resources strategy reflects the needs of the Bahamian public.”
Sands said the new model will also ensure that physicians, who perform, are provided with a decent work environment and compensation which matches their ability and expertise. He said while there is no definitive timeline as to when the overhaul and reform will take place, the industry waits with bated breath as the axe is expected to fall in the not so distant future.