Health News Wed, 12 Oct 2011

Doctors strike impacts on Police and 37 Military Hospitals

Accra, Oct.12, GNA – The strike action being embarked by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has taken a toll on the Police and 37 Military Hospitals with an influx of patients to the two hospitals.

While the Out-Patients Departments (OPD) of the public hospitals remain empty due to the strike, a backlog has hit the two hospitals in Accra.

The GMA embarked on the strike five days ago, saying the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) was not showing evidence of migrating members onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and that if their request was not met the strike would continue.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Hospital, DSP Juliana Obeng said though there had been an increase in the number of patients at the hospital, the situation was under control but added the situation might change if the strike action continued.

“The situation could be bad, she said, adding that measures had been put in place to contain the situation.”

At the 37 Military hospitals, Doctors were however attending to patients though they would not comment on the situation except to say they were working.

The Situation at the La General hospital was no different from the other public hospitals while at the Ridge hospital, OPD services had also been withdrawn.

The GMA in a joint statement signed by Dr Emmanuel Adom Winful, President of the Association and Dr Frank Serebour, Deputy General Secretary of the Association, on October 7, said: “The GMA does not foresee their grievances being met by the close of business on Friday, October 7, and has, therefore, instructed all doctors to stop work and hold themselves in readiness for further instructions”.

The Association is protesting about distortions in the grading structures of the SSSS, issues of unscientific determination of market premium and inducement by the FWSC.

It also complained about the inability of the FWSC to provide unequivocal evidence of migration of doctors onto the SSSS and the ambiguous stance of the SSSS Secretariat on the positions of District Directors of Health Services and Medical Superintendents.

Calls from President Mills and other civil society groups on the GMA to return to work have yielded no result as the doctors say they would remain resolute until their demand for migration onto the SSSS by the FWSC was met.

The Association has been criticized for the strike action while some of its leaders have been accused of misleading their members but Dr Serebour, insisted the Association was justified in embarking on the strike.

“We are achieving exactly what we set out to,” he said. “Now the FWSC is saying that they are trying to engage us in a meeting on Thursday; it shows that we have at least been granted a listening ear and hopefully we can get this issue resolved”.

Source: GNA