Parliament discusses allocation of cars to doctors
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, said the Ghana Medical Association offered the criteria for the allocation of cars to medical doctors and other health personnel.
The issue of the allocation of the cars to doctors on Thursday drew prolonged debate with divergent views from members as to the cost and the main beneficiaries.
Mr Albert Gyapong - Mensah, NDC-Juabeso, asked the Minister how many saloon cars had been allocated to medical doctors countrywide and the criteria for the distribution.
Dr Afriyie said in 2000, the Ministry of Health placed an order for 200 saloon cars for allocation to medical personnel and so far 189 of the cars had arrived and had been accordingly allocated.
He said the practice of the ministry was that 75 per cent of any consignment of cars for allocation to medical personnel was allocated to doctors while 25 per cent was retained for allocation to other health personnel including consultants.
The Minister said the GMA, which was the umbrella organisation for doctors, considered seniority, location and active membership in the affairs of the association.
Mr Kwame Osei -Prempeh, NPP-Nsuta/Kwamang asked whether the cars were offered as official ones or were loaned to the doctors and the Minister said they were allocated on government guaranteed loans.
When Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, NDC- Fanteakwa asked the type of consultants that also benefited from the allocation of the cars, the Minister said pharmacists and other senior nursing officers undertaking consultancy services for the ministry were considered.
Mr David Yaw Mensah, NDC-Atebubu North asked for the value of the cars it drew a prolonged reaction from members, who demanded that the Minister provided the actual cost of the cars. Dr Afriyie then came out to say that the information he got was that each car cost about 140 million cedis.
Dr Mustapha Ahmed, NDC- Ayawaso East asked whether the ministry had plans to stop the allocation of the cars since the number of doctors continued to dwindle.
The Minister said the exercise was on going and that an incentive package had been drawn up for not only doctors but also other health personnel to encourage them to stay at post.
Dr Afriyie said priority would be accorded to doctors serving in deprived and remote hospitals areas where their services were much needed.
Alhaji Amadu Seidu, NDC- Yapei/Kusawgu, asked whether needy hospitals included private hospitals and clinics. The Minister said the allocation was reserved exclusively to the public sector but sometimes some private hospitals could be considered.
To a question asked by Mr Ransford Yaw Agyepong, NPP- Suhum about when the Suhum Government hospital would be provided with an ambulance, the Minister said the hospital had been earmarked to benefit from the next allocation of ambulances to needy hospitals.
Dr Afriyie said in view of the strategic location of the Suhum hospital, which served as one of the first referral centres for most of accident cases that occur along the Accra - Kumasi road the hospital would be given priority attention.