Following the resumption of work by striking doctors of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) yesterday, patients are gradually returning to publicly funded hospitals in the country to receive medical care, Today can confirm.
The move by the doctors was to back their demand for a codified condition of service and for the three weeks that doctors in government hospitals laid down their tools, patients had to turn to private and quasi-government hospitals for health care.
The development put a lot of pressure on these facilities and in some cases over stretching the personnel and other resources.
On Friday, August 21, 2015 the GMA directed its members to resume work on Monday August 24, 2015.
The directive, according to GMA, was in response to several appeals by the public among others and also in compliance with a directive by the National Labour Commission (NLC), which asked it [the GMA] to call off their strike whiles negotiations continue.
And true to their promise yesterday, the doctors returned to the wards, consulting rooms and theatres, to the delight of patients and managers of health facilities.
Visits by Today to government hospitals including Ridge Government Hospital, Adabraka Polyclinic, Mamprobi Polyclinic and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital all in Accra revealed that doctors were at post whiles patients had started returning to these facilities where, hitherto, they received healthcare.
At the Ridge Hospital, for instance, it was observed that patients’ turnout was quite low.
A nurse at the facility who agreed to speak to Today on condition of anonymity attributed the development to the fact that most patients were unaware or unsure about the return of the doctors.
According to the nurse, prior to strike action, the Out Patient Department (OPD) usually averaged between 200 and 300 patients per day.
At the Adabraka Polyclinic, the Secretary at the Administration, who was hesitant to speak to Today initially, said she could not tell whether the return of the doctors had made any difference, since according to her, they have been working since the doctors went on strike.
The Senior Specialist in-charge of Mamprobi Polyclinic, Dr. Emily Onuoha, told Today that doctors had reported and were busy at work.
She disclosed that no death occurred at the facility during the strike period.
At the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the Public Relations Officer, Salifu Mustapha, disclosed that doctors were back to post.
However, he stated that the usual huge turnout at the OPD was missing.
He suspected the low attendance could be due to the fact that the GMA called off the strike at the weekend as such the information did not get to lots of people.
The Maternity Ward was however very busy at the time of our visit.
“I have seen my doctor and I’m looking forward to reporting back to him soon,” Madam Sheila Tagoe told Today, adding that she had not seen the doctor since GMA declared the strike.
According to her, she is elated to see the doctors back at post.
In the Ashanti region, doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the major referral facility in the Ashanti region, all resumed duty yesterday.
Speaking to Today in an interview via telephone, the Public Relations Officer at KATH, Mr. Kwame Frimpong, said “the doctors are back to post” adding that “all consulting rooms are opened and they [the doctors] are there looking after patients.”
He said the hospital has resumed full operations and the facility has recorded “descent” attendance.
Mr. Frimpong, however, declined to state figures in terms of turnout explaining they were yet to compile them.
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