The Ghana Medical Association has declared, it will not attend to out-patient cases at government hospitals effective Monday, April 8, 2013.
The decision was reached at a National Executive Council meeting of the Ghana Medical Association in the Ashanti regional capital Kumasi on Saturday April 6, 2013.
This follows the insistence of the GMA not to abide by a ruling upheld by the National Labour Commission on Friday April 5, 2013 concerning the payment schedule for the Doctors salary arrears.
The Association has therefore informed its members across the country to only attend to patients who are already on admission. The industrial action will be intensified from April 15, where they will turn away all emergency cases if their grievances are still unattended to.
The doctors had resorted to the NLC seeking to overturn an earlier payment scheduled instituted by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
According to the schedule, Doctors will be paid in three tranches, 2012 arrears owed them and the payment will begin in May 2013.
The May payment will comprise arrears for January 2012 to April 2012. The second payment due in July will comprise arrears for May 2012 to September 2012 whilst the final payment due in September 2013 will comprise arrears of September 2012 to December 2012.
The Doctors however got angered by the upholding of the Schedule by the National Labour Commission.
The Leadership of the GMA even accused the Commission of succumbing to pressure from the Government to ignore the concerns expressed by the Doctors concerning their opposition to the payment schedule.
On February 12, 2013, the GMA called off its strike following the intervention by the Presidency.
A meeting was called between the GMA, the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) after which the doctors announced their decision to back down on the strike.
A joint statement signed by Dr Opoku-Adusei and Dr Frank Serebour, the General Secretary of the GMA, after the doctors had called off the strike, said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreed upon committed both the GMA and the FWSC to abide :by the ruling of the NLC.
The parties were also to have further discussions that would spell out clearly the implementation process to the NLC by February 20, 2013.
The doctors suspended their earlier action in the hope that the right thing would be done, but they said up till now government had not taken any steps to address their concerns.
Meanwhile, Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOPSA) have also indicated they will embark on a nationwide strike with effect from Monday April 8, 2013.
Since March 22, 2013, members of GHOPSA have embarked on a work-to-rule action.
Mr Ernest Owusu Aboagye, the spokesperson of GHOPSA in an interview with Daily Graphic said the association had accordingly served notice to all health managers of its decision to embark on the nationwide strike and cautioned that “GHOPSA will not countenance any attempts from any quarter to undermine the collective and legitimate demands”.
Explaining the reason for the industrial action, Mr Aboagye said, “We have noted with regret and disappointment that in spite of several meetings, assurances and engagements with all stakeholders, it appears nothing is going to be done about the baseless and unfair market premium that the FWSC has unilaterally and arbitrarily ‘imposed’ on pharmacists since October 2011”.