The house officers who graduated from the School of Medical Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (SMS-KNUST) in September 2013 and are in their ninth month working at the hospital, have no idea when they will be paid.
The junior doctors have written to the Registrar of the School of Medical Science, Medical and Dental Council, reporting their plight.
According to their appointment letters dated September 9, 2013, first-year house officers will be placed on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) with a salary of GH¢1,025.51 per month for one year.
It is stated in the appointment letters that upon completion of two rotations during the first year, the house officers would be issued with new letters of posting, to undertake two other rotations as senior house officers on a salary of GH¢1,097.00 per month with effect from the date of their assumption of duty.
The terms and conditions of their service will be subject to the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act 1996 (Act 525), the Medical and Dental Decree, 1972 (NRCD 91) and the Legislative Instruments (LIs) and Administrative Instructions made and issued under the Acts, which may be in force from time to time during their period of internship.
The General Telegraph has sighted a letter written by Dr. Kwame Wiredu, the representative of the 2013/14 Group of House Officers, expressing the group’s sentiments to their employers [the Ghana Medical Council (GMC)].
“We have been employed as House Officers since 9th September, 2013 till date without receiving any payment for our services. This has caused untold hardship, inconvenience and constraints to us during the said period, which no doubt has negative consequences on our overall performance as House Officers,” the doctors said in a letter.
The General Telegraph also gathered that at an emergency meeting held by all house officers at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on 13 April 2014, the junior doctors unanimously decided to demand receipt of their staff IDs by 12:00 noon on Thursday, 17 April 2014, which they previously did not have. They also decided to inquire from their employers (GMC) reasons for the delay in processing their salaries over the months and be apprised of steps being taken to expedite the process.
All these demands were incorporated in their letter under the heading: “NON- PAYMENT OF SALARIES,” which they sent to the Ghana Medical Council and copied the Ministry of Health, the Presidency and other stakeholders.
According to the house officers, they have come to this decision because “the economic hardship, inconvenience and constraints have become awfully unbearable” for them.
Surprisingly, it was after writing this letter that their employers decided to register them biometrically so their salaries could be processed.
Although the majority of house officers have now been registered, a few of them could still not be registered because their names did not appear anywhere.
The General Telegraph gathered that the house officers are patiently giving their employers till the end of May to resolve all outstanding issues after enduring eight months of work without pay.
A strike action may be the next step these junior doctors will take if their salaries are still not paid by the end of this month.
When contacted, the Ghana Medical Council said they had come a long way in resolving the issue.
According to the Registrar of GMC, Dr Eli Atikpui, certain processes need to be followed before one can receive salary.
He said although they had received the financial clearance, there was a limit to what the GMC could do.
“I have a limitation. Whatever due process that needs to be done has been completed. The Ministry of Finance has to release the money to the Controller and Accountant General for the salaries to be paid.”
When asked when the house officers will be paid, Dr Atikpui said: “I am not in a position to provide you information on that. It could be this month or next month; I don’t know. It’s a process; the money doesn’t come from GMC.”
-The General Telegraph newspaper