General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Dr Frank Serebuor says he does not regret and will not apologise for calling a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) an “idiot”.
“I don’t regret what I said and I will not apologise or retract my comments,” he said on Peace FM’s morning show, ‘Kokrokoo’.
Doctors across the country have embarked on a strike to demand better conditions of service.
They have shown a clear intent to resign en masse if government does not provide them with appropriate conditions of service.
The situation has generated a lot of discussion in the media as several hospitals have started turning away patients due to the absence of doctors.
During a discussion on Accra-based radio station, Hot FM on Friday, July 31, 2015, Dr Serebuor lashed out at Yeboah Boateng for accusing President of the GMA of instigating the strike by doctors for political reasons.
Yeboah Boateng said, “is Dr Poku-Adusei who has risen through the ranks to become the President of GMA telling us that he doesn’t know what is in their contract? They should quit the job. We are tired of them. I am serious about what I am saying.”
He claimed that the GMA is “doing this to make sure their private hospitals can flourish,” and described their demands as outrageous.
“Some doctors even take salaries more than high court judges yet they are still complaining. They are not being fair to teachers who developed them to become doctors. It is not even about salary, but rather end of service benefits; and they are on strike.”
Dr Serebuor in a sharp rebuttal said among other things that, “for all you know, this idiot in your studio receives free fuel, free call credit and free accommodation. Which public sector doctor has free accommodation? We pay rent to the government,”
“Tell that idiot in the studio that he is not the one who decides what we should do. We decide for ourselves what we should do. If he is tired of us, he can go anywhere and chew leaves which are also medicinal,” he fumed.
He added that, “it is sad that we have to do this to ourselves. I’m not sure all the doctors own private hospitals. Even the law does not allow you to work in the public sector and still own a medical facility of any kind. Occasionally, some doctors will use their free time to go and practice in some private hospitals but not all doctors”.
Dr Serebuor said he wouldn’t apologise over the comments because “I was provoked.”
Although he agreed that his comment was out of place and uncomplimentary, he stressed that “at a point in time, you need to let people know that you can descend to their level.
“I won’t say anything like that again, but I don’t regret saying it…I am not bothered about the reactions”.
Meanwhile, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has asked health insurance cardholders to revert to approved private health facilities for medical care.
The Health Ministry has also ordered all heads of health facilities to stay at post to work with other non-striking staff during the period of the strike.
It has directed ambulance services to remain on standby across the country to help coordinate emergency cases.