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Doctors to Strike Over Salary

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Doctors in the country are threatening an indefinite industrial action, effective Monday, 6 August 2018, if government fails to resolve challenges with their salaries.

According to the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), doctors in the public sector are expected to withdraw all outpatient services until August 19 after which the strike would be heightened by the withdrawal of all emergency services from 20 to 27 August, if government still fails to meet their demands.

This severe warning was contained in a communiqué issued by the Association after its 4th National Executive Council meeting held in Jirapa in the Upper West Region.

The primary issue in contention according to the GMA, is the payment of market premium as percentage of salary, in line with a ruling by the National Labour Commission (NLA).

On their emoluments, the doctors also noted that say they are unhappy about the reduction of their pension following their migration onto the Single Spine Salary pay policy.

They indicated that the Association in November 2017 gave the government up to the end of April 2018 to “resolve all these issues” but that is yet to be done.

“It is worth noting that government (MoH) did not engage GMA until a week to the expiration of the deadline and only requested that the GMA grant a window period is to the end of May 2018 to get the matters resolved” the communiqué read.

According to the doctors, government’s posture is “disheartening” and that “despite all these extensions, it has been so lackadaisical in bring closure to the outstanding issues”.

NHIS

The doctors also made a case for the country’s struggling National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and are dissatisfied about government’s plans to sustain the scheme.

The Association therefore wants government to stop the current practice where it pays the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) into the consolidated fund before transferring same into the accounts of the NHIL with the Bank of Ghana.

“We also recommend that government should take immediate steps to ensure direct transfers of National Health Insurance Levy to the NHIL account at the Bank of Ghana,” it stated.

Also, in its communiqué, the GMA “bemoaned the inequitable distribution of critical healthcare staff which has resulted in the most deprived communities on Ghana not receiving the desired standard of care.”

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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