The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) today refuted statements by the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) which specified that “other disputes” apart from the proposed implementation of the new standardized shift, were outstanding. In September this year, the PHA announced that all outstanding matters with the BNU had been resolved and that the only outstanding issue was the implementation of a standardized shift system for nurses which would bring them in line with the current system in place for all allied health staff. The previously announced December 10th, 2018 implementation date for the new system has been deferred.
The PHA maintains that the implementation of the new shift system would:
• Improve the delivery of healthcare to our patients and ensure better patient outcomes through better nursing coverage and reductions in nurse related accidents and errors;
• Eliminate inequities caused by the “four nights on/four nights off” system which resulted in night duty nurses working 157 days per year on average, compared to 234 days per year on average for nurses assigned to day shifts;
• Establish a standardized five-day, 40-hour work week with 8-hour daily shifts;
• Provide compensation for nurses scheduled to work between the hours of 6:00pm to 6:00am by way of a night duty premium of $1.75 per hour which would be paid in addition to their standard hourly pay.
Further, the proposed changes to the work schedules of nursing staff is a testament to the PHA’s ongoing commitment to ensure that its Human Resources policies are consistent with ratified labour agreements and regional and international standards of
practice. The PHA remains committed to improving the delivery of healthcare to patients by ensuring better patient outcomes and welcomes further discussions with the Bahamas Nurses Union regarding any additional improvements that can be made to enhance patient care and coverage.