Ghana government slams decision of doctors to escalate strike

Mahama Ayariga - Information MinisterThe government has expressed disappointment about the decision  of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to  escalate its industrial action, with the sole objective of causing more hardship to Ghanaians.

A statement issued by Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations in Accra on Monday, said  the government  has done all  that was required  following an agreement signed with Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, President of the GMA.

It said the GMA accepted a government proposed payment schedule for the arrears of the Market Premium of the medical doctors for the period up to April.

An agreement was also reached on the modalities for dealing with the issue of Conversion Difference and Pension.

The statement said the action of the GMA violates a decision of the National Labour Commission on April 10 directing the Association to call of the strike and resume work immediately following government provision of guarantees that all the terms of the agreement would be implemented on schedule.

At a meeting between GMA,  government and the Trades Union Congress on April 11 the leaders of Association and all the parties agreed that the issue of Conversion Difference and Pension is being dealt with by the Single Spine Post-Migration Technical Committee and so Government and GMA would ensure their  ensure commitment to the process.

The statement said subsequently the Single Spine Post Post-Migration Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiating Committee met the leadership of GMA on April 12 and a deadline of April 25 was communicated to members of the Association for the completion of the work of the various bodies.

“After all these efforts to address the concerns of the GMA, Government is disappointed in the leadership of the GMA and questions their motivation in embarking on (the) extreme measure of withdrawal of even emergency medical services with potential of causing loss of lives,” it said.

To avert any loss of lives, the President has directed the Ministers of Health, Defence and the Interior to continue all efforts to ensure that the current arrangements to enable patients receive emergency medical attention in the military, police and private hospitals accredited to the National Health Insurance Authority are continued.

“All medical doctors, nurses and pharmacists on leave at these hospitals have been recalled …Also retired doctors, nurses and pharmacists…are being recalled.”

Government is boosting the capacity of these hospitals to take on additional emergencies.

The National Ambulance Services is standing ready to support all patients needing emergency evacuation to the police and military hospitals.

The Minister of Health will meet with heads of medical facilities to discuss and take measures to minimise the impact of the strike and the enforcement of the Labour Act, regarding the conduct of workers in the health sector, the statement said.

“The President commends all (the) gallant medical doctors who have in appreciation of our national circumstance, made their services available to the Ghanaian populace, including retired medical doctors, who have reported to support the on-going remedial measures.

“Every effort is being made by Government to ensure that the public is able to access health care even in emergency situations to avert any loss of life.

Source: GNA

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