Lab professionals strike cripples hospitals; pregnant women, patients being turn away

The nationwide strike by members of Medical Laboratory Professional Workers’ Union (MELPWU), has begun to bite hard, after patients, including pregnant women, were on Monday turned away when they visited the various hospitals across the country to receive healthcare.

Patients, who visited public hospitals needing the services of these health professionals, were left stranded, despite the deteriorating condition of some individual cases.

The industrial action affected the services provided at the medical laboratories, blood banks, pathology laboratories, and selected mortuary facilities across the country.

But despite calls on the Union to resume work, while their leaders engage the authorities, members have remained adamant saying, they will only go after their concerns are looked at and resolved.

According to the Union, even though they are concerned about the predicament of patients, they will still stand on their grounds and not heed to the call.

Members of the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union, declared the strike on Monday, June 17, over what they say are delays in concluding negotiations on their conditions of services.

MELPWU, accused certain individuals within the Ministry of Health of acting in bad faith.

This accusation, follows an appeal by the Ministry of Health for MELPWU, to call off its strike and return to the negotiation table.

The Ministry, acknowledged the union’s demands for improved working conditions and expressed readiness to address them through negotiations.

In a press release signed by the Public Relations department, the Ministry, stated that the government’s negotiation team, had reached agreements on most of the items proposed by MELPWU.

However, in a recent interview, First Vice Chair of MELPWU, Franklin Armah, expressed the frustrations of over 5,000 members.

He stated that, the Ministry, has taken them for granted for far too long.

“There is no condition of service. Our people are frustrated because it appears some elements are deliberately delaying the process. Someone is using delay tactics.”

He further accused the Ministry of Health of acting in bad faith by making their conditions public when they were supposed to engage them privately.

Mr Armah, said it is important for the Ministry to handle the situation with dignity and respect.

“The Ministry of Health is making us look bad in the public eye. We have to appear in a dignified manner. Our members are angry, and they owe us an apology.”

The Union in a separate interview, accused health facility managers of victimizing their members who are on strike.

According to them, they have received numerous reports, voice notes, text messages, letters, memos and videos of facility managers using threats and coercive tactics to dissuade their members who are demanding improved conditions of service and financial clearance.

Meanwhile, the PRO for the Ministry, Isaac Offei Baah, on the same show, confirmed that negotiations are ongoing and appealed to MELPWU leadership to reconsider its decision to strike and return to the negotiation table with the Government Negotiation Teams.

He also urged the union to be patient with the government’s negotiation team, as they work to expedite the process.


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