Accra Psychiatric Hospital Nurses strike over 'dangerous working environment'

A statement from the nurses released on Sunday, October 30, 2016, said: “Effective Monday 31st October, 2016, no nurse will subject him/herself to the danger posed by the workplace until such a time where we have reasonable cause to believe that the place is made safe.”

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Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have declared an indefinite strike effective Monday, October 31 following what they call government’s failure to provide the facility with the basic logistics needed to carry out their work effectively.

According to the nurses, attempts to get lasting solution to their problems have proved futile.

Chairperson of the Nurses, Jamila Hussein had earlier told Pulse.com.gh that the nurses have resolved to stay away from the patients at the wards until their needs are addressed.

“For now we are out of the ward...”we don’t have the things to make the place conducive enough for us. We are not in the wards attending to any patient unless our needs are met. We are at post but we are not working. We are running away from the danger zone,” she said.

READ ALSO: OPD shutdown ; MoH blames management

In a subsequent statement from the nurses released on Sunday, October 30, 2016, Chairperson of the Nurses, Jamila Hussein said: “Effective Monday 31st October, 2016, no nurse will subject him/herself to the danger posed by the workplace until such a time where we have reasonable cause to believe that the place is made safe.”

This is not the first time nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have embarked on a strike.

In 2015, nurses at the facility embarked on an indefinite strike over unpaid salaries, but later called it off following government's intervention.

The hospital, last month, also shut down its OPD due to financial constraints. It however reopened it following intervention by the Mental Health Authority.

Below is the full statement from the Nurses:

PRESS RELEASE

STAYING AWAY FROM DANGEROUS WORKING ENVIRONMENT

Following several fruitless attempts by the leadership of the nurses to get lasting  solution to the problems that has persisted for years, exposing patients and staff to high risk of infection, and which has become major source of aggression towards staff and other patients, we have been compelled to put our safety above all topics.

Today:

1. As a result of the shortage of the essential medications required for psychiatric management, most patients have relapsed and many of them demonstrate serious aggressive behaviours towards staff and other patients. These physical assaults have resulted in varying degrees of injuries and disabilities spreading fear and panic among the staff and even  the patients, to the extent that the focus now is on staff protection rather than patients care.

2.If staff sustains injuries in the line of duty, he/she takes responsibility of the medical bills, as we have NO form of insurance policy nor risk allowance to cover the bills.

3. There is massive shortage of basic logistics needed to carry out our professional duties such as gloves, spirit, dressing solutions, facemasks, plaster,sterile cotton and gauze, detergents among others. This exposes the staff and patients to unnecessary, not only that, but human-created risk of cross-infections

4. The food for  psychiatric patient is woefully inadequate and deficient in quality creating source of aggressive behaviours.

5. In some instances staff offer financial assistance to meet certain urgent needs of patients

It is worth noticing , that the safety of the workers, especially in the psychiatric setting is non-negotiable.

Effective Monday 31st October, 2016, no nurse will subject him/herself to the danger posed by the workplace until such a time where we have reasonable cause to believe that the place is made safe.

Thankyou.

Signed

Jamilatu Hussein

(Chairperson)

Bekoe, 21 left his home in Accra on August 10, got on his bike and started a four-month adventure, biking across all ten regions of Ghana.

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