Psychiatric nurses protest over lack of drugs

Psychiatric nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH) have threatened to totally abandon the hospital and leave the in-patients to their fate, if government fails to address their concerns by next Monday.

The nurses have since last week, been on a sit-down strike they call ‘Run from danger strike’, due to lack of medications, disinfectants, gloves, inadequate foodstuff and other working materials.

The nurses are currently taking care of the in-patients, but have refrained from attending to new cases, leaving that part of their duty to the medical doctors.

Mr. Fredrick Asare-Donkoh, an executive member of the Psychiatric Nurses Group (PNG) at the hospital, told The Ghanaian Times in an interview in Accra yesterday that their action had become necessary since the patients kept relapsing into the state in which they were brought to the hospital, due to lack of medications which made it more difficult for them to be handled.

“We have been hurt many times by these patients, and will start running for our safety, since most of the patients there have not had access to their medications for about two weeks now,” he said.

Mr. Asare- Donkoh said the patients had become more aggressive at the hospital due to lack of medications to tame them, adding that “when they are in this state, they become threats to the nurses and themselves”.

He stated also that the lack of detergents to clean the hospital was likely to cause disease infections to both nurses and inpatients.

When The Ghanaian Times visited the hospital yesterday, it observed that patients at the Out –Patients Department (OPD) of the hospital were being attended to by the doctors, but did not catch a glimpse of any nurse there.

At the main Male Ward which houses about 150 patients  presently, only two nurses, instead of 80, were seen serving food to the impatients, some of whom kept shouting, ‘Surplus’, to show that they were not satisfied with the food given to them.

The situation was also not different at the main Children’s Ward which houses about 15 mentally challenged children.

The nurses appealed to government to urgently intervene to help make their work easy.

“Staff have been physically attacked on many occasions, but their medical bills were not catered for by the Mental Health Authority or by management, not to even talk about Risk

Allowance!” they said.


By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey   




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