The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has warned that doctors in Public Health facilities across the country will be forced to reject laboratory results without authorization by qualified Laboratory physicians if the impasse in the laboratory space is not addressed immediately.
Addressing the media in Koforidua Sunday, May 30, 2021, the GMA said attempts by the laboratory scientists in public health facilities to monopolize the laboratory space will not be countenance.
The GMA stated that” the view that only medical laboratory scientists regulated by the Allied Health Professions should work in the hospital laboratories to the exclusion of all other cadres of the Laboratory professionals (especially laboratory physicians) in Ghana is erroneous and ill-intentioned”.
According to the GMA, globally, Laboratory Physicians/Pathologists who are qualified Medical Doctors specialized in laboratory medicine /pathology are manning medical laboratories due to their suitability to the work leveraging on their medical background for better analysis therefore same must be harmonized into Ghana’s healthcare system for efficiency and quality healthcare delivery.
The association however bemoaned recent developments in the laboratory ecosystem in public health facilities stating that “over the past couple of years some cadre of Laboratory physicians have been prevented from performing their functions within the laboratory in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) especially and now Komfo Anokye and Cape Coast Teaching Hospitals. Also, residents (postgraduate medical doctors in training in laboratory medicine) and some specialist Laboratory Physicians have been denied access to laboratory as well as in some cases, access to patients’ laboratory information for them to make inputs. This hostility was also extended to other categories of Doctors doing residency programs in other specialties such as internal medicine and family medicine who are mandated to have rotations in the laboratory as part of their training”.
The GMA has therefore resolved at the end of its 3rd National Executive Council(NEC) Meeting held in Koforidua, that, all affected Laboratory Physicians (Doctors) forced out of various laboratories at Public hospitals especially in Korle Bu and Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals must be restored with immediate effect.
The GMA is also demanding that all residents’ medical doctors in training with Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and West African colleges of Physicians and Surgeons especially those pursuing programs in Laboratory medicine be granted full access to all relevant laboratory spaces within the various teaching hospitals.
The GMA also called for an end to all forms of threats, harassments, and assault directed at Laboratory physician residents and specialists, and called for the arrest and Prosecution of laboratory scientists engaged in these criminal and lawless conducts.
The association says the medical profession is at a crossroad due to the development but calls on its members to be steadfast as NEC restores sanity in the medical front but warned that, if their demands are not fully addressed by the Ministry of Health and its agencies especially management of the various hospitals it will be forced to take more biting measures that will not be friendly to healthcare delivery in the country.
Meanwhile, the GMA is calling for broader stakeholder consultation to look into the draft National Laboratory Policy.