Striking Lab scientists, doctors cross words as patients strand at KATH


The Ghana Medical Association has sharply criticised striking laboratory workers at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) as they push to get two of its members posted to the facility as laboratory physicians removed.

The strike will mark an escalation in a row between the workers and management of the hospital does what they say an attempt to impose the two physicians on them after they were posted to head the haematology unit of the LSD.

On Monday, the workers were captured wearing red armbands with some tied on walls and doors at various departments to highlight their demands.

But in a statement the Ghana Medical Association finds the action as “disturbing” and “unacceptable”

“The demands by the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) KATH Chapter to have these two Haematologists (Laboratory Physicians) who are currently at post at the Laboratory and further going on to threaten an industrial action if their demands are not acceded to by management is ill-informed and completely unacceptable”, parts of a statement from the GMA read.

Citing a letter released by the GAMLS, the GMA further argues that the KATH has the sole prerogative to determine the duties and workspace of its employees adding that the decision to embark on a sit-down strike is not grounded in law.

While urging the KATH to find a solution to resolve the matter, the GMA however says it “will not stand aloof while our members are harrassed or threatened wherever they find themselves”.

But the leadership of the GAMLS is fighting back.

Reacting to GMA’s comments in a statement, the GAMLS stressed that it is an autonomous body and will not accept any form of control.

“As a professional body we have made our position clear, and have consistently emphasized the autonomy of our profession from any form of control from whatever source. The headship and the professional leadership of medical laboratory professionals cannot be compromised in any way. The leadership of medical laboratory science in Ghana is a sole responsibility of medical laboratory scientists. Physicians in Ghana report to and are led by physicians. Why would the GMA think medical laboratory scientists should not be led by medical laboratory scientists?”

It accused GMA and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS) of plotting to micro-manage the medical laboratories even to the district level.

The laboratory scientists further clarified that they have no problem collaborating with any group of health professionals to advance the course of patient care, only that they will not accept any form of control or capping.

“No threat in any form will compel us to change our position. The days where physicians take control of all aspect of the health profession are over,” it stressed.

It urged all members accross the country to be on hold for directives as the leadership solidarises with colleagues at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

“It is unfortunate that the statement did not address the main issue that is fuelling the impasse. We entreat all our members to be on hold as we solidarise with colleagues from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. No one should be intimated in any way. We will fight and use all avenues available to defend the autonomy of our profession and members as well,” the statement said.

Patients stranded

Meanwhile patients who are scheduled for various laboratory tests at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital were stranded when visited Thursday morning.

The strike is in full swing, Correspondent Jonathan Ofori reported adding: “family members who appear stranded are resorting to private facilities to be served”.

“I am here for COVID-19 test”, a 45-year-old man told Jonathan. “But looking at the situation I will have to fly to Accra to get tested

KATH urges calm

Meanwhile management of the hospital is urging the striking lab scientists to rescind the decision as the Ministry of Health takes steps to resolve the issue.

“The motivational approach to patients’ care that has warranted the doctors who are certified by the medical and dental council to practice, and so management met the executives of the branch and explained some of these things to them and also indicated that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Health because at the moment we don’t have our hospital board. The previous board had met executives on several occasions giving certain indications about the position of the hospital and it comes at the time the hospital has no board”, said Kwame Frimpong, the Director of Public Affairs at KATH.

So the management told them that the development has duly been communicated to the Minister of Health and that a decision is being awaited and so they should wait for the Minister’s response before any further action can be taken”, he stated.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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