Doctors’ strike adversely affecting hospitals

The Out-patient Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital was almost empty on MondayThe Out-patient Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital was almost empty on MondayThe suspension of emergency services by doctors is gradually affecting healthcare delivery in public hospitals.

Patients with emergency cases who reported at the hospitals yesterday had to be turned away to look for alternative places.

In Accra, patients with emergency cases had to seek medical attention at the 37 Military and the Police hospitals.

By midday Monday, the 37 Military Hospital had recorded 36 emergency cases, 12 more than its average daily of 24, while the Police Hospital, which averagely attends to close to 20 patients, had attended to 30 emergency cases, reports Seth J. Bokpe.

Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) initially withdrew out-patient services on Monday, April 8, 2013 and suspended emergency services from yesterday over unpaid market premium arrears for 2012 and other issues relating to their conversion difference and pension.

At the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the Accident and Emergency Centre had been closed to visitors, while security guards had been posted at the entrance when the Daily Graphic reached the hospital at 11:40 a.m.

Nurses sat idly, occasionally explaining to patients who were not aware of the strike why they could not be attended to.

In some of the wards, doctors were attending to in-patients and patients who had booked appointments had to be rebooked for another day.

Ms Haga Abanyin, who said her daughter was in the Surgical Ward, appealed to the doctors to return to the consulting room while the government made efforts to deal with their grievances.

The Pharmacy presented a similar picture. It had been closed for the past two weeks.

The tale was the same at the Ridge Hospital where two relatives of some patients were seen paying bills. Even though the pharmacy was opened, there was nobody behind the counter.

Even though the Maamobi Polyclinic had been deserted when the Daily Graphic reached there at 2 p.m., some nurses said turnout had been very low because patients had got wind of the situation.

They, however, said physician assistants were available and that they attended to emergency cases. The pharmacy had also been closed down.

Following  the decision by doctors in public health institutions to withdraw all emergency services from yesterday, the management of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) has put in place temporary measures to avert the loss of lives.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Nii Otu Ankrah, even though attendance to the facility had reduced drastically, Cuban doctors at the hospital were currently attending to some of the patients, writes  Zakaria Alhassan.

A visit to the TTH revealed that some of the doctors, who are members of the Medical Brigade Team of Cuba, were attending to some patients at the OPD, including emergencies. 

Also on hand to give support were medical assistants and nurses

From Koforidua, Nana Konadu Agyeman reports that the decision of doctors not to attend to emergency cases seemed to have affected the number of emergency cases reported at the Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua.

A visit to the Casualty Department of the hospital yesterday revealed that there was not a single patient in the female ward.

Apart from patients at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the various wards who were being attended to, all other services at the hospital, including emergencies, had been suspended, reports George Ernest Asare.

According to sources at KATH, drivers operating ambulances in the Kumasi metropolis had been advised not to send emergency cases to KATH.

A 68-year-old patient, Madam Ama Serwaa, who was suffering from a kidney problem, pleaded with the doctors to consider the plight of the aged and suspend their industrial action.

Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah reports that at the Brong Ahafo Regional Hospital, Sunyani, members of the GMA had complied with the directive from their leadership to withdraw emergency services

However, the Accident and Emergency Unit was still in operation and the authorities had put in place contingency measures to forestall any unbearable situation.

Story: Graphic Reporters/