THE MINISTER of Health, Major Courage Quashigah (rtd) has called on medical professionals to use avenues other than industrial action to demand better conditions of service.
He has also asked them to address the issue of human dignity, and stated that its improper handling is becoming a serious public concern and eroding the great respect accorded the medical profession.
Addressing medical doctors at the 49th Annual General Conference of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) in Takoradi last Friday, Major Quashigah (rtd) intimated that innocent patients suffer aggravation of their pains and sometimes death when health professionals go on strike.
“Reversing the poor attitude of some staff, disrespect of patients' privacy and rights to confidentiality, impoliteness, arrogance and rudeness towards the sick and fellow professionals will surely restore the respect in us and enhance team work and esprit de corps,” he added.
He pointed out that honesty and trustworthiness should be at the heart of the medical profession to make the public and the law courts have absolute trust in health professionals.
“Your medical reports, completion and signing of forms and other documents like insurance claims, death certificates and police forms should not come under suspicion,” the minister advised.
Major Quashigah further noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was lending itself to connivance among some health professionals in some health facilities and advised those making illegal money on the scheme to stop because it could collapse it.
He, however, praised medical professionals for their hard work, tolerance and commitment to patients despite their heavy workload.
Dr. Francis Adu-Ababio, the out-going President of the GMA, said the association would continue to lead initiatives that were aimed at improving the health indicators for Ghana and pursue laudable programmes in partnership with its stakeholders.
He admitted that the NHIS removes financial barriers, but said the registration process seemed unfriendly and that there was much delay in receiving the identification cards.
He noted that the mechanism of payment to service providers in the NHIS should be streamlined to remove the unnecessary bottlenecks and avert crippling the health institutions.
Dr. Adu-Ababio made it clear that since Ghana needed more doctors, the government should provide the requisite facilities and infrastructure at the medical institutions to turn out quality products.
He said the GMA, in collaboration with the government, should have a developmental agenda on health manpower with agreed bench marks within which to operate.
“Mushrooming of medical schools in Ghana without proper bench control is a recipe for mediocrity in this great profession. Let us bail out the water now that it is ankle deep,” the out-going President of the GMA asserted.
Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Council, who presided, asked doctors trained with tax-payers money to stay and offer their services to the country.
The theme of this year's general conference of the association was “Medical Ethics and Safety of Medical Practice in Ghana: Emerging Challenges.”
From Sam Mark Essien, Takoradi