Life being squeezed out of Cardio Centre
By: Daniel Nonor
Be on your guard. If under any unforeseen circumstances, you should suffer from any form of heart defect, you are warned that you may have no heart specialist to turn to.
Until the impasse between doctors and paramedics at the National Cardiothoracic Centre and the Government of President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills is amicably resolved, one of these is your best option – mobilise enough foreign exchange to fly outside the country for treatment, or say a silent prayer, and book a date with your maker.
Six days after the Minister of Health wired a letter of dismissal to the Director of the Cardio Centre, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, doctors and staff at the centre are still voting with their feet. New patients are being refused attention, in protest against the removal of their icon.
Although the doctors insist they are not on strike, activities at the centre have virtually ground to a halt, as the body language of the staff indicates their resolve to press home their demand for the return of their director.
Red bands continue to fly at the entrance of the Centre, with a notice in red ink stating: “The Cardiothoracic Centre is not providing services to the public until further notice”. However, patients already on admission continue to receive treatment.
The doctors engaged in closed-door meetings yesterday, after their petition to the President to revoke the dismissal letter of the renowned heart surgeon for at least one more year, was thrown out of the window.
The doctors and para-medics remained tight-lipped during the visit of The Chronicle about the outcome of their meeting, which was mostly characterised by heated arguments.
At a meeting between the President and staff of the cardio centre at the Castle on Monday, the President directed that “a proper handing over process of the administrative functions of the NCC be carried out within one month, beginning from today, and that I expect normalcy to return at the NCC,” a process, which Professor Frimpong Boateng says, he completed four years ago.
Since news broke out on the infamous letter from the Ministry of Health, virtually marching out the man who singlehandedly established the Cardio Centre, the government has come under heavy criticism from, even within its own circles, and the general public.
The President also “acknowledged that the transition process and the Minister of Health’s letter could have been better worded.”
While others hold the view that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was axed on petty political reasons, some say the plan to see his back was hatched in secrecy by individuals who are hungry to feast on funds for ailing hearts.
At the time of going to press, an Accra radio station announced that following a surprise visit by the President to the Cardio Centre, the doctors had resolved to call off their strike action.
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