A/R: Patients stranded as Physician Assistants' strike hits hard

Some Physician Assistants in the Ashanti Region have embarked on a strike action, and it is taking a toll on healthcare delivery in some health facilities within the Region. Patients at the Foase Health Centre in the Atwima Kwanwoma District could not be attended to as the Physician Assistant in-charge of the facility failed to show up to work on Monday. Nurses would not attend to new OPD cases because they claim there is no one to prescribe drugs for patients. The situation was, however, different at the Asuofua Health Centre, where patients were being attended to despite the absence of the Physician Assistant at the facility. Sources within the facility told 3news.com that but for the intervention of an intern Physician Assistant, the facility would not have been operational. At the Barekese Health Centre, a nurse prescriber shouldered the responsibility of the Physician Assistant to ensure patients are not turned away. The commencement of the strike action follows an announcement by leadership of the Physician Assistants Association of Ghana to embark on a nationwide strike following government’s inability to address their grievances. The Association cited salary discrepancies, obsolete job description and poor condition of service as some of the issues in contention. Other issues include appointment of Physician Assistants as Heads of Health Centres and Sub-Districts, accreditation status of College of Health, Kintampo, internship allowance, and financial clearance for both public and private trained PAs and National Health Insurance Scheme medicine list. The group claims the Ministry of Health and its implementing agencies, such as the Ghana Health Service and National Health Insurance Authority, have not shown any commitment to resolving the numerous problems presented. Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health Robert Cudjoe said they are working towards ensuring that the needs of the Physician Assistants are met, so as to have them return to work. “We have already talked to them, we have appealed to them, almost begging them but to them we have not done enough engagement so they have started, but we are still talking to them,” he said on TV3‘sMidday Live. “We wouldn’t sit down for this to prolong, everything possible will be done including pleading with them and having one on one discussion with them,” he assured. According to him, the Ministry will bring together all stakeholders as soon as possible to ensure that things do not escalate.

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By Ibrahim Abubakar|TV3| 3news.com| Ghana]]>