The Ghana Medical Association (GMA), is demanding that laboratory physicians forced out of various hospital laboratories, amid the tensions between laboratory scientists and doctors, be restored.
The GMA in a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting singled out the Komfo Anokye, Korle-Bu, and Cape Coast Teaching hospitals in this regard.
The Komfo Anokye Chapter of the Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists began a one-week sit-down strike on Thursday, May 20, 2021, to demand a reversal of the decision to move two laboratory Physicians who had been transferred to the hospital’s laboratory department.
Members of the chapter then declared an indefinite strike that started on Thursday, May 27, 2021, following the one-week sit-down strike to protest the posting of two haematologists to the Laboratory Service Department of the hospital.
Following the developments, the GMA is demanding that all resident medical doctors in and training with the Ghana College of Physicians Surgeons and West African Colleges of Physicians, and those pursuing programmes in Laboratory Medicine “should be or granted unfettered full access to all relevant laboratory spaces within the various teaching sites.”
The General Secretary of GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson, had already stressed that the association will oppose any attempt to remove the physicians from their lawful positions.
The Association further raised concern with purported threats being made against doctors
It warned that all threats “directed at these Laboratory Physician residents and Specialists should cease forthwith.”
The GMA warned that if the government doesn’t address these issues, it will take “drastic measures that will definitely disturb the current seemingly industrial harmony and health care delivery throughout the country.”
As part of its communiqué, the GMA referenced parts of the Report of the Committee set up by the Minister of Health in 2016 for a review of arrangements towards a National Health Laboratory Policy.
It noted that the appointment of the Head of the Hospital’s laboratory should ideally be the responsibility of the hospital management.
“In making the appointment, the relevant scientific and technical preparation should count, just as the ability to provide leadership to a multi-disciplinary team covering all the different aspects of the laboratories work, including research and service delivery in the case of the teaching hospitals,” the report stated.
The report also stated that “it is inconceivable that any major laboratory can keep out Pathologists or Laboratory Medicine Specialists… there is no strong reason for keeping out any group of relevant professionals from the hospital laboratories.”