After months of disagreements and strikes, the government and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have signed a codified document on conditions of service for medical doctors.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, who announced this at the meeting-the-press series in Accra yesterday, said the document would guide recruitment and promotion conditions for doctors.
“I am happy to announce that the government has reached a deal with the GMA. The GMA now has codified conditions for service,” he said with a sense of fulfillment.
Mr. Iddrisu said the document covered progression, appointment, promotion and training of doctors.
He said issues bordering on conditions of service for doctors under the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and other conditions of service peculiar to doctors had also been captured in the document.
He declined to give further details of the deal, insisting that it was not a good and a fair deal labour practice anywhere in the world to make the conditions of service public.
The minister said once an employee had a letter of appointment, it meant that he or she had conditions of service.
But, he said the challenge with doctors’ situation under the country’s labour law was that their conditions of service were not in writing committed by way of signature.
“We made a commitment as a government that we would be responsive to the demands of the GMA to have codified conditions of service,” he said.
The GMA embarked on a nationwide strike on July 29, 2015, by withdrawing all out-patient Department (OPD) care to back the demand of its members for conditions of service from the government.
The doctors moved the strike a step further by refusing to attend to emergency cases from August 7, 2015, when the government was unable to meet their demands.
On August 14, the GMA met and resolved to continue with the strike for two more weeks, instead of them resigning en bloc, as they had earlier threatened to do.
However, after appeals by prominent Ghanaians and organization, the GMA called off the strike and asked all members to resume work on Monday, August 24.
The group said it came to the decision after it had met and deliberated extensively on the action and discussed all the developments, including the dedication of its members to fight for a negotiated and signed conditions of service documents for doctors under the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its agencies.
It said it could not be overemphasized that, “all doctors in the public sector have, indeed, proved that we have the tenacity and the capacity to fight for our future and shall continue to work together to achieve our goals”.
Saluting its gallant members, the GMA said it also took into consideration the appeals by the ordinary Ghanaian and the wise counsel of certain individuals and some credible organizations to call off the strike.