Physician Assistants demand employment for about 800 by close of year

File photo of a medical doctor

The Ghana Physician Assistants Association (GPAA) is calling on the government to give financial clearance for about 800 members who are at home to get employed within two months.

“No PA should be at home when health centres lack PAs,” the Association stated in a communique issued at the end of its 18th Annual General Conference held in the Central Region last month.

The Conference raised major concerns regarding, among others, career progression for Physician Assistants, absence of official appointments for those heading sub-districts and lack of allowances for PA interns in sharp contrast to what pertains to their colleagues in other sectors of healthcare delivery value chain.

“Physician Assistant interns remain the only group of healthcare workers (trainees) who still receive National Service Allowance instead of Internship allowance,” the Association stated in its communique.

“Nurses and Doctors are rather paid for the services they offer during this period. Physician Assistant (Interns) who would become the bedrock of this noble profession has been frustrated since their formative days as they have been denied accommodation and internship/rotation allowances, as is done to other healthcare professionals.

“However, they are put on duty rosters and sometimes On Call Duty. They rent their own accommodations, take transport from far and near just to make sure they dutifully undergo that mentorship and service to Mother Ghana which will shape their future life and profession.What wrong has the Physician Assistant committed by deciding to choose this noble profession which has contributed significantly to the country’s primary healthcare system. This is injustice perpetrated at the highest level in a Country that prides itself in the Rule of Law, Justice and Equity. The young ones are even frustrated at their formative levels before they enter the mainstream of the profession. This development is very demotivating.”

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They were also worried about the treatment they receive from the Medical and Dental Council (MDC), calling for an independent PA Regulatory Council within a year.

“PAs cannot afford to be regulated by MDC since we do not fall within the scope of medical practitioners (as per the MDC’s classification).”

They asked all stakeholders to play their role in ensuring that the PA is equipped to function efficiently and effectively.

“We call on all stakeholders to play their respective roles in ensuring that Ghana takes significant strides in the attainment of UHC by 2030. Central to that, is equipping the Physician Assistant with the requisite skill sets and knowledge to function effectively and efficiently at the primary healthcare level.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana