Doctors: Work to rule still in
Accra, May 19, Ghanadot/GNA – Patients on Tuesday rushed to the Central Out
Patients Department (OPD) of the Korle bu Teaching Hospital to access health
care before the doctors stop work at 1700 hours deadline they have given
themselves during their work-to-rule action.
Some patients who spoke to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said they reported as
early as 0500 hours to access healthcare before the 1700 hours deadline.
Madam Aba Windful, a patient, said the situation was worrying and asked
government to meet the doctors’ demands to save lives adding that the work to
rule was a strike in disguise.
“I’m lucky to be here for a check-up and I know I will leave here before 1700
hours but what about the emergency cases that come in after that critical 1700
hours deadline?” she asked.
Sources at the Maternity Department confirmed that some doctors closed at 1700
hours on Monday while a few of them stayed on.
The sources said cases that could be handled by nurses would be taken care of
while the critical ones would be referred to the Police and 37 Military
Abena Atta, a pregnant woman, told the GNA that she heard of the doctors’ action
on radio and she was very uncomfortable with the situation because she was
almost due to give birth and wondered what would happen to her should she go
into labour at dawn. She called on the government to act quickly and save lives.
Korle bu Hospital Public Relations Officer, Mr Mustapha Salifu, confirmed that
critical cases would be referred to 37 Military Hospital and Police Hospital and
noted that management was waiting to see what happened to the afternoon clinics
which were held on Thursdays.
He assured the public that a contingency plan instituted by management would
help to manage the problem.
General Secretary of Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Serebuor, has
confirmed that the work-to-rule action was still in force even though a few
doctors were still working.
He said the contributions of doctors in the teaching hospitals were so enormous
that the work of the few would be insignificant.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday, he said no doctor was
happy about the current situation in the hospitals but stressed that what was
due them should be given them accordingly.
Dr Serebuor said 37 military Hospital and the Police Hospital were not targeted
because of their peculiar situation.
He said information reaching him from the regions confirmed that their action
was still in force citing Komfo Anokye Hospital and the Effia Nkwanta Hospital.
The National Labour Commission on Monday reminded the GMA that its action to
"work-to-rule" amounted to a strike that had been embarked upon without recourse
to the dispute resolution procedures provided for in the Labour Act.
The statement further reminded the GMA that its members provided health and
hospital services which according to regulation 20(c) of LI 1833 were essential
services and were therefore prohibited from resorting to a strike as any such
strike could result in loss of life and pose danger to public health and safety.
Dr Serebuor expressed surprise at the statement of the NLC saying that when they
asked the Commission to bring government to the negotiation table they were
quick to say that it had been dissolved and needed to be reconstituted but when
they threatened to work to rule the “non-existent” NLC resurrected to question
Meanwhile, a between Deputy Health Minister, Dr Benjamin Kumbuor and the
leadership of the GMA has been scheduled for 1400 hours on Tuesday to find an
amicable solution to the problem.
The GMA over the weekend said the position of the National Executive Council
affected all doctors nationwide and not just junior doctors, noting "we fully
support the adoption of measures to bring some closure to these thorny issues".
The statement noted that since 2006, salaries of doctors had not been reviewed
despite several attempts to get the issues resolved.
It explained that negotiations had stalled since the last meeting held on May
12, 2009 without any consensus on either the salary review or the conditions of