Doctors are not on an island; they must responsibly return to duty- Health Minister

Health Minister Joseph Yieleh Chireh is seeking the support of opinion leaders, civil society groups to get striking doctors back on duty.

He told Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng all must be involved in appealing to the conscience of doctors for them to return to duty.

The Ghana Medical Association announced a nationwide strike last Friday and has since vacated posts at all public hospital across the country, except the Northern Region.

The doctors are protesting delays in the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.

But the sector minister Yieleh Chireh maintains the strike has no basis.

He accused the doctors of adopting “intimidating tactics” in negotiating a new salary structure.

He said whilst the government is committed to implementing the single salary spine it was not going to collapse the economy by paying unrealistic wages.

Yieleh Chireh said the doctors are not an “island” on their own, charging them to be responsible in relating to the Ghanaian people.

“The long delay in migrating the health workers to the single spine salary structure is not in any body’s interest. Again to collapse the economy of Ghana on a salary scale due to premium determination that will collapse the whole system [will not be good enough].

“Government itself is ready to talk to them; to let them explain to the people of Ghana why are they striking?” Have they followed the Labour Act.”

“They haven’t,” he retorted when Kwame Boateng asked if they had followed the labour law.

“We are not the direct party in this issue. This scar on the conscience of health workers and all of us cannot be a matter for only the health ministry. It is an act that we all as Ghanaians must appeal to the conscience of doctors.

“…We are asking doctors to act in their own interest and responsibly to the people of Ghana. They are not an island. No!” And as an essential service, to go on strike they must follow a laid down procedure.

He appealed to the doctors to return to the hospitals.

He said government is doing all it can to get the doctors back to work. But in the mean time the civil society groups can help in appealing to the conscience of doctors for them to return to work.

But the Ghana Medical Association is unmoved by the rallying cry of the ministry.

The Assistant General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Frank Serebuor told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh the minister must rather appeal to the Fair Wages Commission to resolve the pertinent issues they have raised so the doctors will return to duty.

According to him the GMA wrote several petitions to the Ministry, all of which were not responded to, giving cause for them to lay down their tools.

He said the Fair Wages in computing the market premium only captured 44 hours a week failing to include the number of hours during week-ends and on Public Holidays – hours the doctors deserve to be paid for, he stressed.

He also stated that due to wrong placements, doctors will earn lower than other health professionals under the SSSS.

He stated until the Fair Wages and Salary Commission addresses the market premiums and wrong placement issues raised in the SSSS they are not returning to duty.

He said they are ready to go the long haul if their concerns are not resolved.



Source: Jfm

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