Government must, as a matter of priority, be committed to employing the right number of qualified nurses into public health facilities, regardless of whether the bonding arrangement it has with trainee nurses is revoked, Dr. Justice Yankson, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association has said.
More hands, he said in an an interview with the B&FT, are needed on board to deal with personnel shortfalls at health facilities across the country.
Revoking the bonding arrangement, he added, will not, on its own, reduce the number of nurses the country needs because they may shun working in the public sector.
“Why should that bring down the number of nurses? The only thing that will bring down the number of nurses is government deciding not to employ. The bond doesn’t do anything. It is about the commitment of the employer. If you have a bond and you as an employer, you are treating your people well, people outside will even leave their employment and come to you.
If you sign a bond with them and you need the numbers, then employ them. If you don’t sign a bond with them and you need the numbers, those who are in the system, you employ them.
So personally, I don’t think it is about bond or no bond, but it is more for me to do with the ability of the employer to employ the right numbers of people who are needed, because even though the bond is there, from our history and recent times, with or without the bond, they are sitting home,” he said.
Deputy Health Minister, Tina Mensah, last month announced government’s intention to take pressure off its back by cancelling the bonding arrangement it has with trainee nurses which meant the nurses had to work for government for a compulsory period after school. This also implied the government had to automatically provide them jobs once they left school.
The government has, however, had a torrid time over the years trying to put the large number of trained nurses on its already stretched payroll.
Over 900 unposted midwives and psychiatric nurses recently staged a protest at the premises of the Health Ministry, demanding that they be given jobs forthwith.
They accused government of playing politics with their recruitment, making reference to Vice President Bawumia’s claim that all nurses awaiting financial clearance had been cleared and posted within their first 100 days of the NPP administration.