Surges in COVID-19 Cases in the Bahamas Exposes the Nation to Shortfalls in Healthcare Providers

Minister of Health Renward Wells said the nation’s healthcare personnel are its most valuable resource in combating COVID-19.

“Surges in infection particularly expose us to shortfalls of healthcare providers due to illness,” Minister Wells said during his COVID-19 Update Communication in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

“At last count, there were 194 health care workers, inclusive of physicians, nurses and allied health staff, unable to deliver care significantly impacting delivery of care to COVID and non-COVID patients.”

He explained that Health Officials’ strategy to offset the shortfall thus far has been to identify and engage healthcare providers both within and outside of hospital settings whose workloads have been reduced due to the cancellation of elective procedures, outpatient visits, and the reduction of non-COVID-19 hospitalisations.

“We have also assessed the staff capacity to support the care of critically ill patients, particularly during surges. Trainees, nurses, physicians, technicians, retirees and other support staff have all been co-opted to fill gaps across the healthcare workforce.

“Additionally, we have taken the decision to re-engage 29 physician senior house officers (SHO’s), who will immediately be added to the medical services capacity. The facility at Breezes is also geared toward alleviating some of these stressors.”

The Health Minister said, “We have seen unprecedented cooperation among healthcare workers.

“With the Public Hospitals Authority, Doctors Hospital, and Department of Public Health acute care delivery institutions, staff are working together in a focused, professional and seamless fashion for the best outcome for patients and the good of our Bahamas.”

He added, “I applaud their response to the call to service. May God continue to bless and protect them all.”