Retired, private doctors to the rescue as doctors intensify strike

Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira

The Ghana Health Service is calling in retired doctors and those in private hospitals to help handle emergency cases at public health facilities across the country as doctors intensify their strike tomorrow.

The Ghana Medical Association says it will abandon the emergency units as it piles pressure on government for better conditions of service.

The Deputy General Secretary of the GMA Dr Justice Yankson in announcing the phases of their industrial action said by tomorrow they will no longer accept emergency cases.

The doctors declared a strike last week over the absence of conditions of service.

In a road map to guide their strike, the doctors said they will not accept new cases for a week but will only accept emergency cases within that time frame.

After a week, if their grievances are not resolved, they will no longer accept emergency cases.

It is a exactly a week after the strike was declared and Dr Justice Yankson said from tomorrow they will not accept emergency cases. After three weeks they will send home all the cases in their care and will resign en masse if their concerns are not resolved.

Negotiations between the doctors and government have stalled over the past one week whilst patients struggling to get medical attention.

Public commentary between government spokespersons on one hand and doctors on the other has not helped matters as well.

The government has declared the strike as illegal, but the doctors will have none of that.

Despite the deadlock, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Appiah Denkyira is assuring all will be done to ensure lives are not lost.

"What we have said is that all our managers should be at post because they are managing the institutions and if need be they should invite people from the private sector or those on pension to come and assist whilst we continue with the negotiations and ensure the staff come back to work," he said.

"I am optimistic it will end soon," he said, adding "negotiations have not broken down."

He said even if the doctors are not going to be present at the hospital, they should make their knowledge and expertise available through phone calls for those health workers on duty.

In the Ashanti Region, Joy News has learnt that management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital is in a meeting to strategise on how to deal with the withdrawal of emergency services.

Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor said the meeting has been part of the daily routine ever since the strike was declared.

The hospital is planning to keep the accident and emergency wards still opened to the public as it tries to manage the situation.

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