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GABMLS Strike Health Ministry begs laboratory scientists not to strike

The Biomedical Laboratory Scientists has served notice of a strike on August 22, following government’s inability to implement the National Health Laboratory policy as a matter of urgency.

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Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia play Alex Segbefia is Health Minister

The Ministry of Health has pleaded with the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS) to rescind its decision to embark on a strike, as it is working assiduously to address its concerns.

The Biomedical Laboratory Scientists has served notice of a strike on August 22, following government’s inability to implement the National Health Laboratory policy as a matter of urgency.

READ ALSO: Biomedical laboratory scientists declare strike

A statement signed by the President of GABMLS, Ignatius Awinibuno, accused the Health Ministry of disregarding their needs by refusing to show up at a planned meeting which was to address the stalled implementation of the policy.

“The Minister of Health is not interested in improving and strengthening medical laboratory services for better quality health care in the country,” the statement said.

“We therefore call on all our membership across the country to withdraw their services at the various facilities starting from August 22, 2016 until you are otherwise advised,” it added.

But the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Tony Goodman said his outfit has no record of having received an invitation from the National Labour Commission as claimed by the Association.

“Every meeting with the Labour Commission is confirmed in writing by them. It should be noted that once the Labour Commission is seized on an issue it is illegal for a strike to be called by any group of persons,” Tony Goodman said in a statement.

He, however, indicated that some entrenched positions being taken by parties involved in the policy document are delaying its implementation.

Below is the full statement from the Health Ministry:

MINISTRY OF HEALTH- 
PRESS RELEASE

MOH CALLS ON GHANA ASSOCIATION OF BIOMEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTIST TO RESCIND DECISION 
----------------------------------------

The Ministry of Health has read with dismay a press statement making the rounds in the media regarding an intended strike action by the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientist.

The Ministry for Health has no record of having received an invitation from the National Labour Commission as claimed by the Association.

Which has always being the case before we attend on the Commission. Every meeting with the Labour Commission is confirmed in writing by them.

It should be noted that once the Labour Commission is seized on an issue it is illegal for a strike to be called by any group of persons.

The Ministry of Health will work to address any misunderstanding that exist between the Association and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.

On the 20th July 2016, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists were invited to appear before the National Labour Commission.

The purpose of the invitation is for the Hon. Minister to explain why the Ministry of Health has not launched three documents which have been prepared by the Ghana Health Service with the support of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

At the meeting, the Hon. Minister of Health asked for a four week grace period to enable him do some more consultation with the two main parties ie the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientist (GABMLS) and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.

This request was in view of the entrenched positions being adopted by the parties.

The College is contesting portions of the document making its launch difficult for the Ministry of Health.

The Hon. Minister subsequently constituted a three man management Sub-Committee made of
(i) The Director, HRHD
(ii) The Director, General Administration and
(iii) The Director, Legal to hold further consultations with the parties and report back.

The Subcommittee after discussions with the two parties found out that the parties have taken entrenched positions and recommended that an independent Committee be formed comprising of

(i) A Consultant and representatives from
(ii) Health Service Workers Union ( a Laboratory Scientist )
(ii) The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and
(iii) The Ministry of Health
Since then, invitations have been sent to the parties to submit nominees to form the Committee.

The decision to form an independent Committee was also discussed with the parties which they agreed to.

It is therefore strange that the Biomedical Laboratory Scientist have decided at this moment to embark on strike.

The Ministry is therefore calling on the Association to rescind its decision and join hands with the Ministry to find a lasting solution to the matter.

Thanks you.

TONY GOODMAN 
HEAD, PUBLIC RELATIONS 
MINISTRY OF HEALTH

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