The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has been hit by acute shortage of medical doctors, forcing the hospital authorities to prioritise only emergency cases. New emergency cases have however been suspended. Authorities say they are currently concentrating on inpatient care for the over 250 patients on admission. A total of 150 junior doctors have since the beginning of September this year left the hospital after a year of housemanship but are yet to be replaced. The situation, according to KATH authorities, is having a toll on the few senior medical staff at the tertiary health facility in the Ashanti region and has forced them to scale down on out-patient-department and non-emergency cases. “This action has become necessary because of the acute shortage of doctors in the directorate,” a memo from the KATH dated September 12 stated. The memo stated that further admission into the Hospital will endanger the lives of patients and impede the provision of quality care. Patients showed up at the Hospital Thursday to see their doctors had to wait for about five hours because some doctors at the consulting rooms had been moved to attend to emergency cases at the various wards Public Relations Officer of the Hospital, Kwame Frimpong, told Kumasi-based Akoma FM Thursday that about 170 new doctors who are to replace those who left are yet to be given financial clearance by the Finance Ministry before they could be given appointment. He said management of the hospital met Wednesday and it was resolved that the various clinics and departments focus on emergency cases in view of the situation at hand. “We are expecting that where the problem is very pronounced, the medical directorate has to scale down on non-emergency and OPD cases,” he said. He said the situation has been communicated to the Ministry of Health and efforts were being worked on to ensure that new doctors are employed. “We are hopig that in matter of a week or two, this issue will be resolved and all directorates will be in the position to resume the provision of full service,” Mr Frimpong assured. A doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity said the absence of thejunior doctors who form the backbone of the healthcare delivery system at the teaching hospital has put “a huge strain on the few senior colleagues around. “Some departments and directorates have been forced to reduce their services since they don’t have the capacity to sustain full scale work without the junior house officers,” the doctor added. The doctor urged government to expedite action on the issuance of financial clearance for the junior house officers to be employed.