RE: Nurses Worried About Health Minister's Comments

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 Source: Kumi, Frank

As a concerned health care professional who believe in the spirit of teamwork, I am very worried about the groundswell of anxiety being demonstrated by the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) towards the objective comment made by the honourable minister of health.

The health minister was of the opinion that: “The pharmacists believe that if those evaluated positions are properly considered, they should be given grade 19 and not 18 which is a little above the grading of the Nurses and others.”

Any objective mind that analyses the health minister’s statements and opinion will come to an acceptable logical conclusion that these statements do not in any way demean or insult the nurses. The minister’s firm support for the pharmacists’ cause was based on sound results from Job Re-evaluation scores generated by the FWSC and Price Water House Coopers. In the said scores, the Nursing officer, Pharmacist, and Medical Officer scored 449, 569, and 791 respectively.

Despite these relativities in job scores which were based on Ministry of Health job descriptions, all degree-holding health professionals have placed on level 18L with the exception of the Medical Officer who by virtue of his score has been placed at 21L. Subjecting the decision of the FWSC and MoH management to place all degree-holding health workers at 18L to the test of natural justice and common sense, renders the job evaluation process gratuitous. Why then were huge sums of money spent on this critical process if it was executed with no purpose?

It is interesting to note that the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) had similar justifiable concerns after the initial placement of its members unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS). The Medical Officer who scored 791, had been placed at 20H, where as the Deputy Chief Medical Assistance with a lower score of 669, and the Principal Nursing Officer also with a score of 667 had been placed at 21L and 20H respectively. This inconsistency was however resolved peacefully at Dodowa by the FWSC after unrelenting protest by the GMA following a stakeholder’s forum at the instance of the Ministry of Health (MoH). Ensuing this meeting, an adjustment was made to the grade structure of the medical officers--Medical Officer was moved from 20H to 21L—to rectify the distortions.

May be the minister might have erred by publicly mentioning a professional group whiles making an innocuous comparison of what the pharmacists are demanding for, relative to the grading level of the (18L)”nurses and others.” But once again, I do not think this objective statement by the minister warrants such agitations and furore from the GRNA especially when it was made with no malicious intentions in mind. Like it or not, comparisons based on job evaluation scores will have to be made to ensure salary relativity among the various health care professions is restored in the SSSS.

As a health professional, I appreciate the hard work and selfless dedication of the Ghanaian nurse, pharmacist, and medical doctors. It is imperative for health care professionals to provide health care delivery in unity as a team to improve and maintain the health of patients in this country.

Article by: Frank Kumi, 0243188604, [macfancy2g4@yahoo.com], Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana,

Columnist: Kumi, Frank