In less than 24 hours the ongoing strike by doctors will escalate as they withdraw emergency services across all public hospitals.
The doctors begun their strike last week by turning away cases at outpatient departments – the first step in the process towards resignation en masse later this month.
Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), which comprises over 2,000 doctors, say they will withdraw their services totally from August 14, 2015, capping a total resignation of the doctors from public health institutions.
Already patients have begun feeling the brunt of the strike, with some turning to the more expensive private hospitals.
The doctors are on strike because they say although they break their back to deliver health services, they do not have conditions of service.
They have put forward a proposal on their conditions of service for government’s consideration, but government negotiators have not been able to reach a deal with the doctors.
However, recent comments by President John Mahama seems to have angered the doctors even more.
The President had said that he will not exceed budgetary allocations for wages, allowances and salaries for public sector workers.
President Mahama had said: “Any agreements that are reached in respect of allowances or conditions of services would have to be appropriately captured in the budget; and I want to say for emphasis I will not authorize any expenditure on wages and compensation not provided for in the budget.”
But the GMA says it is unfazed by the comments and has vowed to carry through its threat.
Meanwhile, the Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign is warning the gains Ghana has made in providing quality health care to the public could be derailed if ongoing strikes by the doctors and another by pharmacists do not end soon.
Campaign Coordinator, Archibald Adams, said the imminent pressure on private hospitals could reduce quality healthcare delivery.
“Police hospital is thinking of putting up temporary structures to serve as wards. What it means is that [patients] will not be given quality healthcare because there will be so many people and hence the interaction that doctors must have with their patients will be lost”, he said.
He urged government do well to resolve the issues at the health sector.