The Ministry of Health has urged members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) in public health facilities to return to work while they continue to negotiate.
“The GMA is aware that as providers of essential services, they are enjoined by section 162 of the Labour Act to refer any issues they may have with the negotiation process to the Labour Commission if they are of the view that negotiation has broken down,” it said.
A statement signed by Mr Tony Goodman, Head of Public Relations of the ministry, also urged members of the public to remain calm as the government continued with negotiations to find an amicable settlement to the crisis.
But in reaction to the appeal, the President of the GMA, Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, told the Daily Graphic that no government official had approached the association to reconsider its decision.
He explained that if the GMA was officially approached, the GMA Council would meet to deliberate on it, stressing that “the council is made up of human beings.”
Responding to the leaked proposal of the GMA to the government, Dr Adusei said it was a breach of trust as the negotiation team had agreed that no documents should leave the negotiating table.
He, however, said if the intention for leaking the document was to whip up public sentiments against the doctors, “it will come to haunt the government.”
According to him, other groups would only enrich their proposals with “our information to negotiate.”
While negotiations continue to resolve the withdrawal of out patient department services by the doctors in the public health sector, the statement asked all heads of directorates in all health facilities to be at post to work with the other non-striking staff available during the period of the strike action.
The statement asked that heads of the various units should ensure that there were continuous emergency services, including maternity services, at all health facilities.
It said patients on admission should be continuously managed as long as they remained in the facility.
“All emergency rooms should remain open for non-striking staff to handle emergency cases and co-ordinate referrals with all quasi-government health institutions, including the military and police hospitals across the country,” it said.
Seamless emergency care
The statement asked managers of health facilities to communicate with quasi health institutions to ensure the delivery of seamless emergency care during the period.
It said the ministry had directed that all ambulances should remain on standby across the country to help co-ordinate emergency services.
It added that the ministry was monitoring the situation to ensure the provision of emergency health responses in major facilities as well as continue to provide the necessary logistics needed to mitigate the effects of the strike action.