Minister of Health says matter has been resolved
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Employees in the records Department of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) yesterday walked off the job, citing a malfunctioned air conditioning system for what many said were unbearable working conditions.
Bahamas Public Service Union President Kimsley Ferguson toldEyewitness News Onlinethat he was made aware of the issue almost a week ago and could not understand why it had taken so long to be resolved.
“If this transpired from earlier in the week, an assessment should have already been made and somebody should have been in the position to say what contingency is going to be put in place,” Ferguson told reporters outside the Critical Care Block of PMH.
“In my conversation with the managing director, I was asking when is it going to be resolved.
“She apparently was not in a position to say to me what was going on.”
Ferguson said if the matter is not resolved today, employees will be forced to walkout again.
There are around 20 people in department.
It is the third section of the hospital to experience challenges with air conditioning in recent months.
The hospital has had challenges with its cooling systems in the kitchen and ECG Unit.
“These are areas that really don’t have windows and there are [impacted] portions in the ward as well,” Ferguson said.
“So, we are concerned that there is no contingency plan in place when these units malfunction.
“And based on how rapid and consistently these units have been malfunctioning, the concern is whether or not there has been an assessment to determine whether or not the units are aging and need to be replaced.”
When contacted, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said he had only been made aware of the issue after employees walked out yesterday.
He said he is in the process of gathering information.
“I’ve asked for a report and update. I’ve asked for a determination of why this has happened [and] what the options are.
He noted that his ministry has no interest in, “staff members working in uncomfortable and inhospitable conditions.”
Sands later told Eyewitness Newsyesterday evening that the matter had been resolved.
“We have identified the reason for the air conditioning problems, which was several ducts being closed by an automatic sensor system,” the minister said.
“That has been rectified. I am advised that the area is already significantly cooler.
“In terms of the other remote areas, we have identified a new unit to be installed, so I suspect the matter should rectified in very short order — within a matter of 24 hours or slightly longer.”
The ministry recently installed new chiller systems at the Critical Care Block.