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General News of Saturday, 22 October 2016


Psychiatric nurses begin ‘run from danger’ strike

Mental health nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have embarked on what they call ‘Run from danger’ strike.

The nurses claim the numerous challenges faced by the health facility, including lack of hospital supplies and consumables, have put their lives at risk because they could be harmed by the patients.

A statement by the Psychiatric Nurses Group (PNG) to the hospital’s management on behalf of the nurses stated, “Staff at Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH) face numerous challenges which bother on shortage of medication, inadequate food for patients and lack of basic logistics to carry out our professional duties.

“These problems have become a major source of aggression towards staff (which in some instances to the point of life-threatening scenarios) ………”

The statement signed by Jamila Hussein, chairperson of the group, said whereas the nurses owe a duty to advocate for the mentally challenged, their actions are also typically grounded on the insecurity at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.

“The work place has become increasingly dangerous as a result of the shortage of the medications among other issues.

“Staff have been physically attacked on several occasions meanwhile, under no circumstances were their medical bills catered for by the Mental Health Authority or by management, not to even talk about RISK ALLOWANCE!

“Subsequently, we have resolved that we would not subject ourselves to the danger posed by the patients at the work place as a result of shortage of the medications, foods and other logistics,” Ms. Hussein stressed.

More so, the PNG chairperson indicated that the decision had become necessary, taking into consideration the fact that the crisis has persisted for many months without any solution in sight.

She said the Mental Health Authority has per its posture shown little interest in addressing the situation.

“While the M.H.A. instructed you (the hospital management) to reverse the interim measures put in place to mitigate the situation (which included temporary closure of OPD services, and which you agreed), we are yet to see a solution,” Hussein noted.

She said in as much as the nurses appreciate the client’s right to access their services, they also have the right to work under safe, satisfactory and healthy conditions; “and we shall not position ourselves in any way to compromise on our safety, especially when the situation at hand touches on ‘life and death.’”

New Charges

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital has been saddled with unsolved financial challenges which have affected the day-to-day operation of the hospital for several weeks.

The health facility has been forced to stop new admissions and closed its OPD due to the huge debts it owes suppliers as well as non-availability of medical consumables to work with.

Interim measures like donations and release of GHC1.6m to the hospital by government is still inadequate to clear the hospital’s GHC4.2m.

On 14th October, 2016 the hospital was again forced to review fees for services to enable it continue to provide care to patients

A memo from the medical director’s office and copied to all departments indicated that charge for a patient’s folder and ID (new case only) has been moved from GHC25 to GHC40, while consultation (old and new cases) has been moved from GHC10 to GHC20.

Admission to the (VIP ward) is GH¢800 monthly while non-VIP ward attracts GHC500 monthly. Also token for medicine has been moved from GHC5 to GHC10 and sanitation pegged at GHC20.

Foreigners are required to pay double the fees in each case while all other fees remain unchanged.

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