The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has served notice to hospitals across the country to ban the use of mobile phones by health personnel during service delivery.
This according to the service follows several complaints by patients about the poor service provided at hospitals.
The ban also follows the recent suspension of a nurse and a midwife by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for engaging in unprofessional conduct and breaching the professional standards of the health profession which included the use of mobile phone while on duty.
In an interview with Citi News, Director-General of the service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare said staying off the phone will among other things reduce waiting time in most hospitals and also ensure improvement in the quality of service.
“We are having a few complaints from patients and their relatives. When there is any problem in the care of their patients, what they normally say is that the health workers were on their mobile phones instead of attending to them. We know that the best practice is that you don’t see workers on their phones doing things that are not related to their work. So, Ghana Health Service says that if [nurses] go to work, as much as possible, they should put their phones away and do what they are expected to do.”
Dr. Nsiah, having admitted the essential use of technology such as phones in healthcare delivery, said plans are far advanced to have health personnel use an internal communication system other than their personal phones.
“We know very well that, they use mobile phones to contact each other for support. So what we are also trying to do is to make sure that health facilities put an intercom system in place to communicate among themselves to serve patients very well. But if nurses and other staff members are on their phones whatsapping and doing other social media things when they are attending to a patient, then there is a problem.”
The Nursing and Midwifery Council said during its investigation, it found out that, whilst assisting a pregnant woman during labour on Monday, December 4, 2017, Sarah Serwaa Major took some unprofessional decisions which nearly cost the life of a pregnant woman and her baby.
“The Midwife asked the complainant’s husband to cut the umbilical cord with a blunt tool and used her gloved hand to touch other unsanitary items including her phone during the delivery,” the Council said in a statement released last week announcing the suspension of the health worker.
The Council as part of its sanctions directed Mrs. Major to undergo Continuous Professional Development training after serving the suspension period.