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Health News Sun, 30 Oct 2016

Psychiatric nurses declare strike over 'dangerous working environment'

Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have declared an indefinite strike effective Monday October 31 over what they describe as “dangerous working environment” following attacks on the nurses and other staff of the hospital.

The threat had been on for well over a month but according to the nurses, nothing concrete has come from management of the institution and government for that matter hence their decision.

In a statement issued by the nurses, it said “effective Monday 31st October, 2016, no nurse will subject him/herself to the danger posed by the workplace until such a time where we have reasonable cause to believe that the place is made safe.”

The statement titled ‘Staying away from dangerous working environment’ further outlined reasons for their actions as follows As a result of the shortage of the essential medications required for psychiatric management, most patients have relapsed and many of them demonstrate serious aggressive behaviours towards staff and other patients.

These physical assaults have resulted in varying degrees of injuries and disabilities spreading fear and panic among the staff and even the patients, to the extent that the focus now is on staff protection rather than patients care.

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If staff sustains injuries in the line of duty, he/she takes responsibility of the medical bills, as we have NO form of insurance policy nor risk allowance to cover the bills.

There is massive shortage of basic logistics needed to carry out our professional duties such as gloves, spirit, dressing solutions, facemasks, plaster, sterile cotton and gauze, detergents among others.

This exposes the staff and patients to unnecessary, not only that, but human-created risk of cross-infections The food for psychiatric patients is woefully inadequate and deficient in quality creating source of aggressive behaviours.

In some instances staffs offer financial assistance to meet certain urgent needs of patients “It is worth noticing that the safety of the workers, especially in the psychiatric setting is non-negotiable.”

This is likely to have an adverse effect on psychiatric healthcare delivery in the coming days since the patients would be left to their fate.

Source: 3news.com