Lab scientists strike taking toll on patients’ pockets

General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-05-31

Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health

The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) strike is taking a financial toll on patients seeking affordable health care.

The strike has now forced some patients to use private laboratories which are said to be significantly more expensive.

Lab Technicians’ strike in the Central Region rendered some hospitals empty Lab scientists awaiting Gov’t MOU before ending strike

Some of the patients compelled to visit private facilities complained bitterly to Citi News, with one man lamenting that private labs “cost more than the one in the public hospitals. “It is very very expensive. I am worried,” he said.

Another patient said: “It is not everybody who can afford the private fees. Looking at the current circumstances, there is a lot of hardship. When they are embarking on such strikes, they need to look at the situation, consider people and be more humanitarian.”

Another woman spoke of the stress she was being put through.

“Unless I take a sample to them, they can’t tell me the price. If the central lab is supposed to be there, I would get everything good and affordable. I will reduce money spent and, secondly, have some strength to relax.”

Why the strike?

The group went on strike on Monday to protest salary discrepancies they claim have existed for six years, after the introduction of the Single Spine Pay Policy.

The Association has also accused medical superintendents and directors of disrespecting their profession by employing unlicensed personnel.

According to them over 90 percent of laboratory processes in public health facilities in Ghana are not controlled, and this threatens the quality or accuracy of lab results churned out.

The Association blames this mainly on the lack of supervision and quality control.

This strike left hundreds of patients at public hospitals stranded.

After meeting with the Health Ministry on Tuesday, the group has said the MOU would be a concrete assurance.

The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, yesterday told Parliament he was optimistic the strike would soon be called off.

He described the talks as successful.

Upset NLC

The National Labour Commission (NLC) said the strike by the members of GAMLS was illegal.

The Executive Secretary of the NLC, Ofosu Asamoah told Citi News the Association failed to exercise the needed patience.

“We invited the Ministry, and we are writing to the Fair Wages Commission to join in. And so they were told that they should suspend any action by way of striking until the matter is fully determined and they agreed, only for them to go back and declare the strike while the matter is still pending.”

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