The Board of Management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is deeply saddened and dismayed by the communication from the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) that it has taken industrial action effective immediately.
BAMP, today, informed the Board of the QEH that its members will only provide emergency services at the QEH. In the correspondence, the Board was notified that provision will be made to maintain in-patient care but that no elective procedures or clinics will be undertaken by its members. In light of BAMP’s actions, the Board wishes to advise the public that it cannot guarantee the availability of services provided by BAMP members.
The Board is unable to comment on any of the demands made by BAMP in their communication as one of these matters is before the Court and another concerns a specific individual which it feels is not appropriate to be brought into the public domain. Furthermore, a third matter is currently going through due process as part of an industrial relations exercise which is covered by an agreement with BAMP. That BAMP would renege on this agreement indicates bad faith on their part and a certain degree of arrogance.
With regard to the right to terminate employment recently highlighted in the media, the Board needs to clarify that under the terms of the contract of Consultants engaged by the QEH, the Board "may at any time determine the engagement of the Employee on giving three (3) months notice in writing to that effect or on paying him one (1) month’s salary." Similarly, the Consultant has the right to determine his engagement with the Board by giving similar notice.
The Board stresses that these terms of engagement for Consultants have been in existence prior to the creation of the QEH as a statutory body. In the past, Consultants have used this clause to end their relationship with the hospital, as has the QEH to end its relationship with specific Consultants. The Board is not aware that BAMP has ever objected to this in the past.
The Chairman of the Board, Rev Guy Hewitt, has emphasized that the matter of the determination of engagement of Consultants must not be taken in isolation but must be seen as part of the Board’s efforts to make the QEH a patient-centred institution rather than doctor-centred. This point was previously emphasized by him to the President of BAMP, Dr Carlos Chase, at a prior meeting and was also reiterated?? by the Board at a meeting with the Medical Staff Committee on 29 July 2010. The Medical Staff Committee comprises all clinical heads of department.
The Board is currently working assiduously to improve the plant, equipment and delivery of services and hopes that BAMP will adopt a posture beyond the concerns of its members and work with the Board in addressing the wider healthcare needs of Barbadians. The Board wishes to reassure the public that all efforts are being taken to minimize the impact of the actions taken by BAMP and hopes that BAMP will adhere to good industrial relations practices to resolve these issues so that focus can return to the transformation of the institution.
The Board remains steadfast in its commitment to the mandate given to it by the Government and the people of Barbados.