Pharmacists at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) have issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the hospital’s management to either return cheque books of the revolving drug account run by the pharmacists or face a strike action.
The said cheque books were collected from the director of pharmacy, Elizabeth Bruce, following the hospital management’s decision to take over the purchasing of drugs from the pharmacists. This was said in a letter to the director of pharmacy.
This decision is causing the latest confusion at the health facility after the scandalous acquisition of luxurious cars valued at GH¢1million.
The letter, dated June 5, 2014, indicated that per the direction of the hospital’s board, all suppliers of the Pharmacy department would be paid centrally at the Finance directorate.
‘By reason of this, you are to give the cheque books of all the accounts of the Pharmacy Department and the list of creditors to the Director of Finance on Monday 9 th June, for the necessary action,’ it stated.
The pharmacists, however, see the decision by the management board as ad hoc and detrimental to their work and are demanding the return of the cheque books, or they would withdraw their services.
More than 70 pharmacists of the hospital Tuesday morning served notice of their intention in a peaceful protest at the over 14 Pharmacy units of the hospital.
Raymond Tetteh, a representative of the team, said that when the group received the notification from the board, a petition requesting a dialogue between the pharmacists and officials was sent to the board, only for them to realise that the board had gone ahead with its decision of taking over the payments of suppliers.
He said the revolving drug account is kept separately from the hospital’s account to ensure proper oversight.
Mr. Tetteh stated that the Pharmacy department has been able to run this account all this while without any difficulties, ‘but they now want to take over the mandatory signature and spend the money without our knowledge.’
He noted that the account has three signatories, the director of pharmacy, CEO and the finance director, and ‘now they mean that we should work and generate funds for them so they might as well work for us and play our role as pharmacists.’
He stressed that the group has asked the board to meet with them over the issue as they could not generate funds for someone who had no idea how to operate it.
Eddy Annan, board chairman of the hospital, in a phone interview with DAILY GUIDE said he has not received any petition from the pharmacists, adding that he has previously discussed the issue with the director of pharmacy together with two other directors of the hospital to resolve it.
He said the board took the decision to make the Ag. Chief Executive, Rev. Albert Botchway in charge of all procurement to the hospital while management addresses issues of malpractices at the various departments.
‘All the departments have agreed for this to happen except the Pharmacy department,’ he said and asked, ‘Why?’
Mr. Annan therefore urged Mrs. Bruce to explain the issue to her colleagues, adding that it was in the interest of the hospital.
‘If you have nothing to lose, why are you protesting against a decision that would help the hospital save money?’ he interrogated.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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