The KATH, the second largest health facility in the country, is set to explode once again over what senior and junior medical officers describe as the overgrowing political interference in the operations of the hospital.
An excessive executive interference, including an appointment of less competent personalities into some sensitive positions, is reportedly threatening the very survival and smooth operations of the largest hospital in the northern sector.
Some long serving senior medical staffs, The Chronicle gathered, are lacing their boots for a crusade to save the hospital from imminent destruction as a result of moves by the ruling party to obstruct the time tested smooth administrative procedure, which has survived the facility and made it one of the most respected health institutions in Ghana and West Africa.
The doctors, who have often embarked on sit down strike for personal and monetary reasons, this time round, are on a rescue mission to save the hospital from losing its image as the Centre of Excellence, in provision of healthcare.
The highly altruistic move by the senior medical officers, if unsuccessful, has the tendency to throw the hospital into confusion and jeopardize health provision in the country.
They have threatened to make the hospital ungovernable should the executive arm of government persist in their attempt to politicize the rather sensitive institution whose duty is to address the health needs of over 400,000 out-patients per year.
The doctors further allege that there is a high level political conspiracy, ostensibly geared towards appointing sympathizers of the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) to certain key positions to help raise funds for the party, ahead of the 2016 general elections.
The Chronicle has sighted confidential letters from the Flag Staff House and the Ministry of
Health lending credence to the claims by the senior medical staff, about attempts to dismiss some personnel of the hospital and replace them with junior ranked persons.
The letter specifically cited the desperate efforts by the former Chief of Staff, Mr. Prosper Bani and the ex-Minister of Health, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah to remove the hospital’s Director of Administration, Mr. Isaiah Offei Gyimah, who went on medical leave, with one Mr. George Kofi Tetteh.
The agitated concerned senior medical personnel also allege that there is a grand conspiracy to effect similar changes to other sensitive positions such as the Director of Pharmacy, the Medical Director, Director of Finance and the Director of Nursing Services.
A letter dated, April 13, 2015, and signed by the outgoing Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah, instructing Mr. Kofi Tetteh, junior personnel to take over from Mr. Offei Gyimah as the acting Director of Administration, has sparked confusion amongst staff of the hospital.
Apart from the fact that the former minister signed the letter 15 clear days after his appointment was revoked, the doctors contend that the process for the appointment was in contravention of the Public Service Commission Guidelines.
According to them, there are clear rules and procedures that must be followed in the case of the appointment of people to acting position.
Quoting the specific Act which states that: “An acting appointment is an arrangement that allows for the continued performance of the job attached to a position when unpredictable and unavoidable circumstances render the incumbent incapable to perform his or her duties.”
According to the senior medical officers, they do not understand why the Ministry will appoint someone to the position of an acting Director of Administration when the substantive Director, Mr. Offei Gyimah, is fit and ready to take over his position upon return from his medical leave.
According to them, the situation could spell yet another gargantuan judgment debt trouble for the hospital just like a similar one where the then Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, was illegally dismissed.
“The action of Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Mensah under the instruction of the President without respect to the Governing Board and the Public Service Commission, as well as Act 525, which sets up the Teaching Hospital could be a recipe for chaos at KATH,” the Senior Medical Officers warned.
They further contend in an event of incapability to carry out a duty either as a result of interdiction, sudden dismissal, death, vacation leave or any other reason as captured in the Public Service Commission Guidelines, it states emphatically that: “The most senior and available subordinate officer, who is at one step below the position/ grade is assigned in an acting capacity unless his efficiency and effectiveness are in serious doubt or dictate otherwise”
However, in the case of this particular appointment, the said Mr. Kofi Tetteh is nowhere near the criteria spelt out and, therefore, his selection to the acting position as Director of Administration, was in violation of the guidelines.
They denied allegations that were contained in the letter issued by the Minister to the effect that Mr. Offei Gyimah was incapacitated as a result of ill health.
“How can a minister take a decision based on mere suspicion of an ailment, what is the medical evidence to prove that the man is incapacitated to execute his duty as contained in the minister’s letter.
“We are a medical institution and at least we need to act based on facts. There is no medical evidence to prove that Mr. Offei Gyimah cannot carry out his operations,” they argued.
Information gleaned from a reliable source within the hospital has meanwhile hinted that the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Henry Akpaloo, has also issued an internal memo to enforce the executive fiat, though the Board of the hospital is yet to meet and deliberate on the matter.
A source has told the paper that the Chairman of the Board, without the approval of the entire membership, ordered the CEO to issue the memo.
The Chronicle has further obtained intelligence about a secret meeting called at the behest of one of the leaders of NDC in Kumasi three weeks ago to strategize towards achieving the ‘one million votes’ in the region.
In the said meeting, which was also attended by some of the big shots in the party, it was suggested that one of the major ways was for the party to get hold of sensitive positions in the hospital, which included the Director of Administration.
The caucus was also said to have briefed Flagstaff House on the meeting, upon which the Minister was instructed to effect the changes without due consultation.
Meanwhile, the agitated staff, who have been holding meetings and strategizing, are planning to protest in the event that nothing is done to rectify the anomaly, a situation which could put the operations of the hospital and the lives of numerous patients in serious jeopardy.
LOOMING JUDGMENT DEBT
The Chronicle’s investigations further reveal that the hospital could suffer yet another case of judgment debt, as a result of the decision to forcibly exit the incumbent Director of Administration.
“We all remember how the unlawful dismissal of the former CEO, Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare has resulted in the hospital having to pay over GHc 750,000 judgment debt. Do we want a repetition of such a situation, certainly no! And we won’t allow that to happen,” they contended.
Source: The Chronicle
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