Four days into the industrial action embarked on by junior doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the hospital authorities have released GHÃ‚Â¢400,000 to cover the fuel allowances of the doctors.
The Public Relations Officer of KATH, Mr Kwame Frimpong, told Daily Graphic in an interview that the amount was lodged in the accounts of the doctors yesterday to encourage them to resume duty.
It is, however, not known when the strike will be over.
The non-payment of the allowances and other arrears were cited as reasons for the strike that began last Friday, leaving hundreds of patients stranded. The most severely affected by the junior doctors’ action was the Out-patients Department (OPD), where crowds continued to gather in need of medical care.
The striking doctors cited accumulated fuel allowances and non revision of their salaries since 2006 as their main grievances for embarking on the action.
The release of the amount followed a directive by the Minister of Health, Dr George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, to the Chief Executive of KATH for all accumulated fuel allowances for the heath workers which accumulated from 2006 to date to be paid in full.
The minister, who paid a surprise visit to KATH last Saturday to interact with the management and junior doctors on the strike, stressed that the management of KATH and all other hospitals in the country that owed health workers any outstanding fuel allowances should be paid within a week.
Earlier at a media briefing last Saturday, the Chief Executive of KATH, Dr Nsiah Asare, told journalists and the Health Minister that the full payment of the accumulated fuel allowances would affect cash flow and other operational activities at the hospital. “Nevertheless, management will abide by the directives, fully,” he assured.
He also gave the assurance that the hospital would strive to enhance continuous services to their numerous clients.
When the Daily Graphic visited the hospital around 12 noon yesterday to find out whether or not the junior doctors were at post, it was realised that workers at the Records Department had issued instructions to the patients who were there to return home due to the strike action by the junior doctors.
The Records Department had rather given out dates to the patients on when they should return to the hospital to verify whether the doctors would be at post or not.
When contacted on the payment of the fuel allowances; Dr Sarfo Kantanka, who is the Regional Chairman of the Junior Doctors Association, said notwithstanding the prompt payment of the fuel allowances, they would not be enticed to resume work.
He said their industrial action was not based on the accumulated fuel allowances alone.
“The issue of non-revision of our salary negotiated was a major factor, and until we hear something positive, we will continue to lay down our tools,” he stressed.
He pointed out that until something productive came out from the salary negotiations, he would not be able to convene a meeting to impress on his colleagues to resume duty.
Source: Daily Graphic