Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said it is estimated that an additional 120 Family Medicine physicians are required to provide adequate primary care for community health clinics in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and the Family Islands. To meet this need, plans are underway to expand the residency programme to accommodate more physicians in training at one time, Dr. Sands said at The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Clinical Medicine and Research & the Ministry of Health ‘Induction and Awards Ceremony for the Graduating Class of 2018’ held at Baha Mar, Sunday, June 24, 2018.
He thanked the UWI (Bahamas) team for doing a “phenomenal” job in growing the number of Bahamian physician graduates since its inception in 1997/1998. The Health Minister said another bold initiative of the Ministry is the Office of Medical Staff Development.
He said the objectives of this new office are to:
- Facilitate equitable distribution of the national public-sector physician workforce
- Ensure coverage of health services across The Bahamas
- Reduce stagnation of career development among junior physicians
- Increase the number of independent practitioners
Dr. Sands explained that the goal is improving the quality of care delivered, ensuring value for money, and promoting continual learning among all physicians. He said, “But we have to also build and improve our health system and our profession.” Dr. Sands said building on the recent verification exercise undertaken by the Government last fall, a comprehensive update of the Physician Manpower Needs Assessment was completed for the three public hospitals and the 92 community clinics. “This has led to strategies aimed at reducing deficits; determination of the minimum number of these clinicians needed per unit; and most importantly, has guided the equitable distribution of staff across institutions.”
He said with respect to the country’s primary care clinics, there are clear paths underway for building the capacity of physician resources to meet the public sector need throughout The Bahamas: “Equitable distribution of suitably trained, compassionate physicians throughout The Bahamas goes a long way toward improving access and quality of care in our primary care settings.” The Health Minister said, “The vision is to provide comprehensive healthcare that embodies the principles of universal health care with a strong emphasis on health maintenance, reducing chronic non-communicable diseases and promoting healthy lifestyles.” During the evening, 45 new doctors were inducted in front of their proud families and friends. Dr. Giselle Outten received the Dr. George Sherman Award, the Adult & Paediatric Medicine Award, the Professor Knolly Alan Butler Award, the Dr. Anthony Regis Award and the Cecil M. Bethel Award. Dr. Jade-Evette Strachan-Pritchett received the Community Medicine Award and Dr. Christyn Adderley received the Most Outstanding Student in Psychiatry Award.
More images from the Graduation Ceremony Below: