Doctor Warns Government

As the strike by the Ghana Medical Association begins to bite, the government has been warned to stop putting out false information to cause disaffection for doctors.

A striking doctor, who does not want to be named, told Joy FM Thursday he is “upset” that false information is being circulated on social media by assigns of the government.

“Government is playing with the issue,” the livid doctor pointed out, adding that persons working for the government are “churning out lies on us”.

Members of the Ghana Medical Association withdrew their services nationwide today after four hours of negotiations with government on their condition of service yesterday failed.

According to GMA’s road map, doctors will begin with the withdrawal of OPD services today for a week. The country’s premier health facility, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has announced that its OPD has been closed.

If after a week, the concerns of the doctors are not resolved, they will withdraw emergency services and they will later resign en masse.

Social media was saturated with what were perceived to be the demands of the doctors. Some have called the patriotism of the doctors into question describing their demands as outrageous.

They include clothing allowance, 30% of basic salary; professional allow 50% of basic salary/ month, fuel (House Officer- SMO), 80 gallons per month; PMO – Specialist, 90gallons per month; Senior Specialist- Consultant, 100gallons per month.
But members of the GMA have condemned the "false" speculation as offensive and unfortunate.
Even though it said House Officers are currently enjoying 20 gallons per month, the doctor who spoke to Joy FM was emphatic that they were all lies. He said for about five years that he has worked as a medical doctor, he is yet to receive a gallon.

He also denied that doctors are given accommodation allowance.

The doctor rejected claims that doctors are asking that their overtime allowance be increased from 40hrs/ week to 200hrs/ week.

The assertion, he indicated was laughable in the sense that a week is made of 168 hours and wondered why doctors would ask for 200 hours.

“If you take a pay slip of a medical doctor who has practised for almost five years in this country, there are three items listed under credit; i.e. single spine salary market premium; single spine monthly salary; and on-call duty facilitation allowance. These are the three credits on the pay slip.

“If you check the basic pay which is the single spine salary is GHc2,071.99…on-call facilitate pay to an average doctor in Ghana is GHc124.40, and this is the amount you are supposed to buy fuel [for your car] and drive from your house to the hospital anytime you are needed.”

He said their condition of service is so dire to the extent that a doctor delivering her wife, who is also a doctor, working in the same hospital, would have to pay for the service.

Though he conceded the decision by the doctors is not what they wished for, “unfortunately some [patients] have to endure and bear the consequences”.