Docs postpone action

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), has extended by a month, its decision to resign en bloc from public hospitals, fol-lowing the commencement of negotiations on the Conditions of Service for its members with the Ministry of Health.

It said if after July 29, the Conditions of Service were not fully negotiated and signed, it would implement its decision to resign en masse from the public hospitals.

GMA at a meeting at Takoradi in May, resolved to resign en masse today, if government failed to provide its members with a Conditions of Service.

Speaking to the media after a closed-door emergency general assembly meeting in Accra yesterday, Dr Justice Yankson, the GMA Deputy General Secretary said the Takoradi decision had been extended by a month due to the demonstration by the Ministry of Health of goodwill towards addressing their demand for better Conditions of Service.

He said the association at the meeting spelt out its resignation processes and would implement them in phases if the government failed to sign the service conditions with it within the next month.

“If by 18.00 hours on July 29, the Conditions of Service document is not fully negotiated and signed, what is going to happen is that during the first week, there is going to be the withdrawal of Out Patient Department Services (OPD); the second week will be a combination of OPD and emergency services and total withdrawal of health services in the third week,” he said.

Dr. Yankson said after the third week, the GMA would trigger its action to resign en masse from the public hospitals.

Asked if the decision taken   represented the view of all members, the Deputy General Secretary said all the regional executives attended the emergency meeting.

Sharing his thoughts with The Ghanaian Times on the GMA’s decision, Dr Arnold Osei-Wusu, a member of the association, said they had softened their stance because they have taken cognisance of the difficulties some sick people go through in accessing health-care.

“Our intent is not to worsen the sufferings sick people go through. Our decision is clear and concise. We are united and focused in holding on to our plans and we trust that government will not be found wanting.”

The GMA has since June1, this year, been on the neck of government for better Conditions of Service. Among the demands, are the association’s request for free medical care for its members and the upward hike in doctors’ allowances.

On June 3, the technical group working on the Conditions of Service document, led by the GMA president; Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, presented the framework for negotiation on the Conditions of Service to the Minister of Health, Alexander Segbefia.

The framework, which would serve as a guide for negotiations of the Conditions of Service, was last Friday signed by the Minister and the Secretary General of Health Service Workers Union, Mr. Abu Kuntulo.

By Kingsley Asare & Linda Aryeetey

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