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Doctors Threaten Strike

Dr Frank Ankobea

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has served notice to withdraw services at all public hospitals nationwide from August 27, 2018.

The GMA, which is the mother body responsible for all doctors in the public sector, said the sit-down action will occur should government fail to address some outstanding issues regarding their market premium, conditions of service, pension and issues concerning the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by August 5, 2018.

The association revealed that government has been lackadaisical in approaching their demands and concerns, hence the intended strike action.

This was contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Dr Frank Ankobea, GMA president and Dr Justice Yanskon, GMA general secretary, after the association’s fourth national executive council meeting.

Demands

The document called for the suspension of the legal requirement on NHIA to offer financial support to its partners like the Ministry of Health (MoH) and parliamentarians.

It also called on government to take immediate steps to ensure direct transfer of National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) into the NHL account at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) instead of the current practice of paying the NHIL to the consolidated fund account before subsequent transfer into the NHIL account.

The statement also bemoaned the inequitable distribution of critical healthcare staff which has resulted in most deprived communities in the country not receiving the “desired standard of care”.

“We call on the government and other major stakeholders to consider the incentive packages recommended by the GMA at its annual general conference that was held in Tamale in November 2010 to discuss this subject,” the GMA indicated.

It said although it has given government enough time to handle issues concerning doctors in the public sector, “it is, however, disheartening that despite all these extensions, government has been so lackadaisical in bringing closure to the outstanding issues.”

Strike

Their intended strike, according to the statement, will be in three batches- first the withdrawal of all out-patient services at public hospitals nationwide on August 6, 2018 followed by emergency services from Monday, August 20, 2018 to Sunday, August 26, 2018.

It stated that from August 27, 2018, all services offered by doctors in public health facilities will be totally withdrawn if their demands are not met.

The GMA had earlier in November 2017 given government up to the end of April 2018 to honour its obligation towards members of the association as occasioned by a compulsory arbitration awarded by the National Labour Commission (NLC).

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

Credit: DGN

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