The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has asked medical professionals in the public sector who use working hours to engage in private practices to cease or resign as it will no longer tolerate such conduct.
Council Chairman of the GHS, Dr Yaw Yeboah, who gave the warning said they have officially written to hospitals to ensure doctors who refer patients to their private clinics or hospitals resigned from the public health sector.
“We are not going to tolerate a situation where a doctor, nurse or any health professional should have a conflict of interest by leaving the core work by which the person is paid and go and work in private practice to the detriment of the people,” Dr Yeboah warned.
He gave the warning during a visit to the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in the Western Region together with the Director General of GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare and other directors as part of their three-day tour of the region.
Dr Nsiah Asare condemned such conduct by health professionals, particularly medical doctors, indicating their action smacks of conflict of interest and undermines effective healthcare delivery.
He reminded practitioners of their duty to give off their best, and also condemned the practice of doctors referring patients to their private facilities thereby depriving public health facilities of their revenue.
“We are not saying that nobody should do any private practice. But once you are on duty, you are on duty. If you are not on duty and you have private time, yes, but we have realized that their patient load is very low compared to the facility,” he said.
Dr Nsiah Asare has thus directed all heads of departments to pay attention to their staff attendance to ensure the situation is addressed.
On the challenges confronting healthcare delivery at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, the Director-General said a committee has been set up to come up with recommendations.
Meanwhile, commenting on the ‘no bed syndrome’ at health facilities across the country, Dr Yeboah said the council has taken note of the lapses and is addressing the issue.
“We have spoken to our staff in the government hospitals that if it treating the patient on a trolley in the ambulance, and that should be done. I am happy to know that the information that has gone out from the Council of the Ghana Health Service has trickled down to private hospitals,” Dr Yeboah stated.