Healthcare delivery to grind to a halt next week as doctors threaten nationwide strike

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Doctors in Ghana are threatening to strike next week if government fails to address some concerns bordering on their emoluments and the country’s struggling National Health Insurance Scheme. At the end of the 4thNational Executive Council Meeting of the Ghana Medical Association at Jirapa, the Association outlined a number of issues it wants the government addressed by 6:00pm on August 5. It said should government fail, it will from August 6, begin a nationwide strike with the withdrawal of outpatient services at the various public health facilities. The action will then be intensified with the withdrawal of all emergency services from August 20-26, something that has the potential to grind the nation’s healthcare delivery into a halt. “From August 27, 2018, all services offered by doctors in public health facilities shall be totally withdrawn,” the GMA said in a communiqué issued at the end of the Council’s meeting. The doctors are demanding the National Health Insurance Authority ceases the financial support it has been offering its partners like parliamentarians and the Ministry of Health, advising, “these non-core expenditures should be suspended” READ: NHIA boss justifies over GH¢62k to gov’t communicators Their demand comes on the back of the GHC62,000 NHIS money spent by the Authority to train government communicators on NHIS programmes as well as the request to the Authority to use 8,500 dollars to sponsor an MP, Adwoa Safo, for a training programme abroad. READ:Parliament not NHIA sponsored my trip – Adwoa Safo clarifies The Association wants government to also stop the current practice where it pays the National Health Insurance Levy into the consolidated fund before transferring same into the accounts of the NHIL with the Bank of Ghana. “We also recommend that government should take immediate steps to ensure direct transfers of National Health Insurance Levy to the NHIL account at the Bank of Ghana,” it stated. On their emoluments, the doctors say they are not happy about the reduction of their pension following their migration onto the Single Spine Salary pay policy. Again, the doctors said government has failed to pay their conversion difference since December 2011 despite the orders of the National Labour Commission for government to pay same. They indicated that the Association in November 2017 gave the government up to the end of April 2018 to “resolve all these issues” but that is yet to be done. “It is worth noting that government (MoH) did not engage GMA until a week to the expiration of the deadline and only requested that the GMA grant a window period ip to the end of May 2018 to get the matters resolved” it said. According to the doctors, government’s posture is “disheartening” as despite all the extensions, it continues to be “lackadaisical in bring closure to the outstanding issues”. It is against this background that the doctors say they will strike next week if government does not put its house in order and address their concerns within the deadline. By 3news.com|Ghana]]>

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