Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have started a full-blown strike today, Monday 31 October.
It follows what they describe as “fruitless” dialogue between them and the authorities.
Below is their full statement
STAYING AWAY FROM DANGEROUS WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Following several fruitless attempts by the leadership of the nurses to get a lasting solution to the problems that has persisted for years, exposing patients and staff to high risk of infection, and which have become a major source of aggression towards staff and other patients, we have been compelled to put our safety above all topics.
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 or risk allowance to cover the bills.
3. There is a massive shortage of basic logistics needed to carry out our professional duties such as gloves, spirit, dressing solutions, facemasks, plaste, 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 the psychiatric patient is woefully inadequate and deficient in quality creating a 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.