KATH junior doctors join strike
Date published: September 12, 2012
From Simmons Yussif Kewura, Kumasi
Junior doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) have laid down their tools in solidarity with their senior counterparts, who have been on strike for about three weeks.
According to the junior doctors, the strike action had become necessary, following a long absence of their senior colleagues, who they described as their supervisors.
As a result, the management has expressed fears that the strike action would impact negatively on health delivery at KATH.
Dr. Lawrence Osei-Tutu, Chairman of the Junior Doctors Association, indicated that as junior doctors they could not work without any supervision, and for that, the authorities had to do something in order to get the striking consultants back to duty.
Dr. Lawrence Osei-Tutu explained that the nature of their work demands that the consultants are around to supervise whatever they do, except that they had taken the risks for the past three weeks and worked without supervision, which situation could jeopardise the health of patients visiting the facility.
According to him, the current situation at KATH, particularly at the emergency unit, demands that the consultants are around, in order for KATH to operate fully, as areas like the laboratories are not functioning.
He said, “In most cases our work demands laboratory support services, and so if the consultants are not there, how do we go about our work well?” Dr. Osei Tutu queried
He feared that without all these, and if they go on working and anything happens to a patient, they would be blamed, and for that matter the best decision was to refrain from work until the consultants return from their strike action.
He disclosed that during their meeting to decide on the strike action, their members were angry, because it had taken them so long to arrive at this decision.
Answering a question from Ultimate Radio, a Kumasi-based radio station, Dr. Osei Tutu regretted that the authorities had taken the patients for granted, since they had not given them the best of health delivery during the absence of the consultants.
The Public Relations Officer of KATH, Mr. Kwame Frimpong, confirmed the strike action by the junior doctors, saying as at now, the people may not experience its impact, but as the days go by, it would begin taking a serious bite.
He disclosed that the Minister of Health, last week Thursday, met with the consultants and a committee had been put in place to see to the payment of the outstanding allowances, and also work out their allowances for the third quarter.
About three weeks ago, consultants at the KATH embarked on a strike action, following the government’s inability to pay their outstanding allowances, which has been in arrears for five months.
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