Physician Assistants threaten labour unrest

The Ghana Physician Assistants Association (GPAA) has threatened a nationwide industrial unrest to demand for better conditions of service and remuneration for its members. 

“The only action successive governments understand best is industrial action, which we may resort to soon as dialogue and diplomacy has failed us as a group”, Chief Alhaji Imoro Azumah Bandana II, the National President of the GPAA said on Thursday. 

He was addressing the opening session of the 15th Annual General Conference of the Association at Abesim, near Sunyani.

Alhaji Bandana II therefore entreated the government to as a matter of urgency develop realistic strategies to resolve the numerous problems facing Physician Assistants, especially, the poor conditions of service before the unexpected happened. 

The theme for the four-day conference is “the psychological well-being of the physician assistant: a way of improving productivity”. 

Alhaji Bandana II explained that the physician assistant blended and executed components of clinical, preventive, promotional and administrative services at the rural, urban and peri-urban communities where human resources were scarce thus “making physician assistant an epitome of versatility and efficiency in human resource crisis”,. 

Despite all the hard work by physician assistants in solidifying the gains in the country’s primary health care system, and the health delivery machinery as a whole, this cadre of health professionals remain the most neglected, less recognized and less remunerated among the health workforce in the country, he bemoaned. 

“When mention is made among the health professionals in Ghana, the Physician Assistant is conveniently omitted as if we don’t exist or  contribute to the total positive health outcomes of Ghanaians”, Alhaji Bandana II stated. 

He said a recent survey showed that the country required about 38,000 health professionals to fill its human resource deficit.

But, Alhaji Bandana II expressed distress that Physician Assistants who have completed school, internship and had fully registered with the Medical and Dental Council “sit in the house for years, and recently have to result to picketing for financial clearance and posting in order to put their acquired skills over the years to the disposal of majority of Ghanaians who need their services”.

The National President observed that other health professionals had internship, housemanship and rotation allowances but regretted that “the Physician Assistant is not qualified to take allowance all these years of practice”. 

“This is injustice perpetrated at the highest level in a country that prides itself in the rule of law, justice and equity”, Alhaji Bandana II noted and added that “the young ones are even frustrated at their formative levels before they enter the mainstream of the profession”. 

Alhaji Bandana II also called on the heads of the various training institutions to collaborate with relevant agencies and institutions mandated by law, to develop attractive and sustainable specialty programmes in the field of Physician Assistantship.

Source: GNA

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