Accra, May 19, GNA – The Police Hospital is ready for the influx that may arise from the work-to-rule action adopted by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Hospital Administrator of the Police Hospital, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Joseph Owusu-Bempah, said on Tuesday.
He said strike was not in the vocabulary of the Police and the Hospital was always ready for patients 24 hours a day.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, he noted that the workload had increased since the work-to-rule action of the GMA, but added: “For us the situation would always be normal in spite of the work load.”
DSP Owusu-Bempah said the difficulty was that treating patients from other hospitals was a little difficult because the history of the patients was most of the time very scanty.
He noted that the Tuesday ante-natal clinics were filled to capacity with some patients sleeping overnight to access health care due to the doctors' action at the civilian public hospitals.
Acting Medical Director, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Seidu Zakariah, also noted that the hospital was and has always been ready for such unfortunate incidents and described the action of the GMA as “irresponsible”.
“The Hippocratic oath doesn't allow us to go on strike,” he said, and noted that he had been working since 0400 hours attending to referred cases from La General Hospital and some accident victims.
ACP Seidu said some senior members of the GMA were not happy about these strike actions by doctors and noted that doctors should not forget that they were mere mortals who could also become patients.
He asked the doctors to resume normal work and continue to save lives while negotiations continued.
Some patients who spoke to the Ghana News Agency said they decided to access healthcare at the hospital because they knew that no matter how long they waited they would not be turned away.
The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Monday reminded the GMA that its action to "work-to-rule" amounted to a strike that had been embarked upon without recourse to the dispute resolution procedures provided for in the Labour Act.
The statement further reminded the GMA that its members provided health and hospital services which according to regulation 20(c) of LI 1833 were essential services and were therefore prohibited from resorting to a strike as any such strike could result in loss of life and pose danger to public health and safety.
Meanwhile, a meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon between Deputy Health Minister, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, and the leadership of the GMA to find an amicable solution to the problem.
The GMA over the weekend said the position of the National Executive Council affected all doctors nationwide and not just junior doctors, noting; "we fully support the adoption of measures to bring some closure to these thorny issues".
The statement noted that since 2006, salaries of doctors had not been reviewed despite several attempts to get the issues resolved.
It explained that negotiations had stalled since the last meeting held on May 12, 2009 without any consensus on either the salary review or the conditions of service.