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27.02.2006 General News

Doctors on strike stick to their guns

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Accra, Feb. 27, GNA - The striking medical doctors at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Monday stuck to their stance not to report for work until they were paid their feeding fees.

The doctors were demanding the money, which they said dated back to April, last year when they assumed duty.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview Dr Hadi Abdallah, Deputy Spokesperson for the officers said they had tried several times to resolve the issue since last year "but management of the hospital is not prepared to listen to us". He said some of the doctors, worked between 24 hours and 36 hours continuously and "we do not have the time to eat, which is also not good for our health", he added.

The house officers on Thursday embarked on a strike action to demand the restoration of their feeding allowance.

The strike action compelled the hospital authorities to suspend its normal clinical services, attending to only emergencies and inpatients. The hospital management has described their action as unnecessary and unfair to innocent patients saying that the appointment letter given them in March stated clearly that they would not be paid feeding allowance during their period of internship which they all acknowledged receipt and acceptance of the conditions. The feeding fee was introduced when there was no additional duty allowance and it took days for the salaries of house officers to be paid.

The hospitals and some other health facilities decided to maintain the feeding allowance to support doctors pending the receipt and mechanization of their salaries.

Dr Abdallah noted that the Ghana Medical Association was currently meeting the management of the hospital after which they will meet the house officers adding that "we are itching to resume work but an angry doctor is a dangerous doctor and we need to solve this issue once and for all so we could go back and attend to our patients". Mr Mustapha Salifu, Public Relations Officer of the hospital told the GNA that it was illegal for the doctors to embark on the strike action as stipulated in the session 161 of the New Labour Law. He explained that as part of the regulations, if they absented themselves from work continuously for 10 days without permission, it would assume that they have vacated their post and "this will warrant dismissal".

Mr Salifu said management has expressed shock about the action of the house officers and said they were meeting with the representatives of the GMA to resolve the issue. 27 Feb. 06