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Doctors vote in favor of a “sick-in” over Covid payments

Members of the Bahamas Doctors Union (BDU) voted in favor of engaging in a “sick-in” over an honorarium list that left out hundreds of frontline workers who risk their lives tending to COVID-19 patients.

A sick-in means doctors report to work but drag their feet in carrying out their duties.

During a virtual meeting held on Monday night, doctors discussed whether to join over 300 healthcare workers who have called in sick since Thursday or whether to have a sick-in.

They ultimately voted in favor of the latter, which means consultant physicians would have to pick up the slack. It is unclear when they will take action but doctors indicated it could happen this week.

While the driver and secretary of Minister of Health Renward Wells received honorarium payments of over $1,100, some doctors received nothing or the minimum payment.

One family island physician who was infected with COVID-19 on the job said she had to be airlifted to Doctors Hospital for COVID treatment and received a medical bill of $30,000.

However, the government only gave her an honorarium payment of $1,650. Others said they received the minimum payment of $1,100 despite working with covid-19 patients from the onset of the pandemic.

Doctors plan to lobby for the government to award frontline workers in the public healthcare system hazard pay instead of honorarium payments.

Physicians also called for the resignation of some Public Hospitals Authority officials over their mismanagement of the pandemic and mistreatment of healthcare workers.

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