Source: Daily Guide Ghana - Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have intensified their strike action with the withdrawal of emergency services at the various public hospitals across the country.
The association earlier withdrew its services at the Outpatient Department (OPD) in demand for conditions of service.
The strike action commenced after the GMA executives and the government representatives failed to reach a middle ground on the negotiations of the conditions of service before the deadline given by the association.
The doctors had even threatened to resign en bloc if their demands were not met.
The first week of the strike saw many patients being turned away from the public hospitals as doctors refused to treat them.
The OPDs were deserted, leaving only the nurses and midwives to give basic medical attention to patients.
The second week of the action, which began yesterday, is already having dire consequences on patients with emergency cases.
Dorcas Asare, whose sister was transferred to the medical emergency unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) from LEKMA Hospital, Tema, was left stranded in front of the unit as nurses told her that her sister could not be admitted because there was no doctor around.
“My younger sister was admitted at LEKMA four days ago because she could not walk. They said they had done everything and now it is left with Korle-Bu and therefore gave us a letter to come and see a doctor here,” she said.
Dorcas said upon arrival, a nurse at the medical ward told them to either go home or try the 37 Military Hospital.
“We have been here for about six hours now and we don’t know what to do anymore. We have gone there to beg about three times; still the nurse said she could not admit her,” she said.
Victoria, who had brought her father to the medical emergency unit for treatment three days ago, said she had not seen any doctor as at Friday morning.
“The nurses are there but I have not seen the doctors this morning,” she said.
Victoria said she had to go outside for the laboratory test because the nurses said doctors were not around.
Defying The Rules
While some doctors are going strictly by the roadmap given by the Ghana Medical Service (GMS), others have defied the rules and have continued working.
Doctors in the Tema Metropolis have defied the association’s order to strike yesterday, saying that patients’ health must come first.
Only doctors at the Tema General Hospital took part in the Ghana Medical Association’s (GMA’s) protest over conditions of service.
The development suggested that some doctors who had vowed to take part in the strike had subsequently had a second thought.
Some of the doctors at the Tema General Hospital ignored patients at the Outpatient Department (OPD) but were seen working from the consulting rooms.
GMA Replies Mahama
The GMA has rebuffed claim by government that doctors are demanding conditions of service effective this year.
According to the association, members are not immediately asking their employer (government) to yield to their conditions of service this year but that it should be factored into next year’s budget.
President John Dramani Mahama last Wednesday said “Government will not authorise any expenditure on wages and compensation not provided for in the budget,” saying that fiscal discipline requires that not a single pesewa is spent on remuneration outside what has been budgeted for.
But the President of the GMA, Dr Opoku Adusei, noted that government is ignorant about their proposal.
The Medical Director of the Tema General Hospital further pointed out that the government team, made up of 16 persons compared to 10 persons from the part of the doctors on the negotiation table, was not telling Ghanaians and the president the truth based on the agreement they had.
“We are not saying that we need money from government now. But per the agreement, what government is not telling Ghanaians is… [that] we agreed that whatever agreement we come to would not be started but would be factored in the 2016 budget to start implementation in January 2016; so we are not talking about 2015,” he clarified.
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