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Government Must Instruct Fair Wages Commission To Act On Doctors Strike
 
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11-Feb-2013  
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Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Mr George Smith-Graham
 
 
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A member of the NPP communications team, Hopeson Adorye has cautioned the government to intervene in the strike action by doctors to expedite resolution measures on their demand for fair salary in single spine salary structure.

According to the leading member of ‘Let My Vote Count Alliance’, the National Health Insurance Scheme beneficiaries are unfairly punished and denied of their rights to health care services in the country.
The public sector doctors have today, Monday, February 11, withdrawn outpatients’ clinical services, and are except to attend to only emergencies and inpatients services, of which the Ghana Medical Association hopes to achieve their fair salaries from Fair Wages and Salary Commission.

Speaking on Hot FM Monday morning as a panel on a political talk show programme, Hopeson Adorye said that, even though institutions are there to respond to the strike action, government intervention to such sensitive matters as this can save more lives and state resources; in that the government has power to avert the situation.

The liberal politician said that, irrespective of the government in power, it is incumbent on the government to facilitate the settlement of doctors’ anguish on their salaries since their absence can cause more death in the country.

Hopeson Adorye reiterated that the purpose of government intervention is to achieve its vision in the health sector and to stop the brain drain syndrome where doctors travel outside the country to seek better incentives, adding that, “the motivation of doctors in Ghana is very poor and it is high time we do something about it to cushion them to work since they have families to care for.”

Public sector doctors threatened to withdraw their services from Monday, February 18, 2013, over issues arising from their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

But the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Mr George Smith-Graham, said their action was premature.

The doctors have threatened to start with the withdrawal of outpatient clinical services from Monday, February 11 to February 17, 2013 and attend to only emergencies and inpatient services.

That would be followed with the total strike on Monday, February 18.

 





The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Frank Serebour, said doctors had adhered to the processes of the law, but there had not been any solution to issues arising from their migration onto the SSSS.

He explained that the grading of district directors and medical superintendents was referred to the Ghana Health Service Council (GHS) on November 4, 2011 by the National Labour Commission (NLC), but had since not yielded any solution.

Dr Serebour said the position of the association was that any doctor being made a medical superintendent or district director had to maintain his or her grade.

Thus, a specialist being made a medical superintendent would still retain the grade of specialist, but would not assume a lower grade upon assuming the position of medical superintendent or district director.

Meanwhile, the press statement released after the First National Executive Council Meeting of the GMA held in Accra on January 25, 2013, catalogued the arduous developments on the issues of market premium, the recovery by the government of conversion differences paid to doctors when they were migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and the payment of the market premium.


The doctors said they first raised their concerns about the issues in a press statement on January 27, 2012, particularly on the recovery of the conversion difference.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning directed the Controller and Accountant General's Department (CAGD) to suspend the recovery, but the directive was not adhered to, and it was given after some monies had already been deducted from their salaries.

The GMA with other health sector workers then wrote a communique on February 9, 2012, to the Minister of Health at the time complaining about the recoveries made and the fact that it had resulted in a reduction in their pension contributions.

This was copied to all stakeholders, including the National Labour Commission (NLC).

Another letter by the GMA to the acting Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) about the non-resolution of the placement of district directors and medical superintendents, followed on February 16, 2012, and this was also copied to the NLC.

On April 1, 2012, the GMA issued a press statement in Koforidua, still raising concerns about its issues that had remained unresolved.

A press statement was further issued on May 27, 2012, while also threatening some actions if issues about their conversion difference, market premium and the grade of medical superintendent and district directors remained unresolved.

The association then followed that up with a complaint at the NLC on May 26, 2012, with the latter acknowledging the complaint on May 31, 2012, and summoning the GMA as petitioners and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) as respondents to appear before the NLC on June 6, 2012.

Four months after that, the NLC on September 20, referred the GMA's petition of May 28, 2012 for compulsory arbitration, which was to start on October 3, but never came off.
 
 
Source: Daniel Adu Darko/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
 
 

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