Tension and acrimony appear to be creeping into operations at the La Polyclinic in Accra, following a seeming management apathy over concerns raised by nurses at the facility over extremely difficult work schedules.
Information gathered by the Ghanaian Times indicates that the nurses numbering about 25, are from the Out Patients Department (OPD), Emergency Room (ER) and Treatment Room and are calling for a return to a schedule that allowed them to have two days off, yet perform their 40-hour duties.
According to the concerned nurses, a change in their schedules, referred to as “timetable differentials,” was taking a toll on them and could affect health delivery if nurses come to work and were not in the right frame of mind.
Although sources within the management of the facility claimed a meeting was held in June with the leadership of the disgruntled nurses and officials from the district level, nothing concrete was agreed on except an advice to the nurses and managers to bury the hatchet and start everything afresh.
That meeting was occasioned by petitions presented to management, seeking help to restore a previous “timetable differential” revised by the Deputy Director of Nursing Services (DDNS) at the facility, Ms Veronica Momo Blabi.
“The DDNS wanted us to run our shift with just one day off in a week, which is not favourable to us, so at the unit level, with the knowledge of our in-charges, we agreed and designed a different timetable that enabled us to have at least two days off within a week.
This arrangement, in our view, did not in any way affect our delivery of service to our clients,” a copy of the petition sent to management and sighted by the Ghanaian Times read.
According to the nurses, that arrangement had run for a long time without hitches until the DDNS effected the changes after it came to her attention.
They also pleaded with management to look into the possibility of restoring the schedule to at least grant them (nurses) two days off work within a week to help them refresh bodies and minds for work.
But that, they alleged, had rather created unnecessary tension between the nurses in the three departments and the DDNS, an environment that was detrimental to the wellbeing and morale of the entire team.
A follow-up petition to management claimed nurses were experiencing undue stress and fear and that could affect not only their professional performance, but also their overall mental and social well-being.
The concerned nurses also queried the lack of action from the hospital management in the cases of verbal abuse, threats issued out to nurses over promotions and working excessive hours.
Stopping short of mentioning their next line of action if management failed to respond, the nurses claimed they were keeping their cards close to the chest, expecting their bosses to act.
Management, when contacted by Ghanaian Times, remained mute over the matter with a source pointing out that its doors were opened for the nurses to discuss their grievances to find lasting solutions to them.