The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has indicated that the recent remark by the Director-General, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, concerning a halt in automatic posting does not mean the Service will not employ professionals.
In a statement released on Thursday 27 June 2018, the Public Relations Unit of the GHS entreated the public not to “misinterpret ‘no more posting for health professionals’ as ‘no more employment for health professionals””.
The statement further noted that: “Posting is not employment. Automatic posting without interview to ensure filling of staffing gap at the levels is not efficient way to distribute health professionals”.
The release added that “the Director-General in his interview did not refer to only nurses, but all health professionals” will undergo interviews before being posted to the health facilities where their services are needed.
Below is the full statement:
Government will no longer post Nurses – Dr. Nsiah Asare
A circular with the heading above has been trending on social media without an author or source.
The circular has caused much sensationalism due to misinterpretation or misunderstanding.
Employment and Posting are not same.
‘Employment’ is the fact of someone being paid to work for a company or organization. In this case there is an agreement between the employer and employee. Whilst ‘posting’ is a position of duty, employment, or trust to which one is assigned or appointed. If you get a posting to a different town or country, your employer sends you to work there, usually for several years.
The Director-General in his interview did not refer to only nurses, but all health professionals.
Therefore the public should not misinterpret “no more posting for health professionals” as “no more employment for health professionals”.
As Ghanaians, most are aware of the staffing gaps in the various health facilities, districts and regions. This disenfranchises other taxpayers in terms of accessibility to healthcare services. If this continues, the goal to achieve a Universal Health Coverage can never be met. There are several instances financial clearance expires because some health professionals refuse posting, and their clearance comes with their names, hence irreplaceable.
This ‘interview at the Regional Health Directorates’ seeks to address the staffing gap at all levels and to reduce the rate at which health professionals refuse posting for financial clearance to expire. When this interview before posting extends to the district directorates in the future, it will also help to address staff accommodation issues.
Let me state emphatically, this interview before posting or engagement is not the first time in the Country. The teaching hospitals, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the likes, and Volta Regional Health Directorate conduct interview for health professionals before posting or engagement. I strongly believe most private hospitals also do same.
So why the outcry now?
Are employees placed at the teaching hospitals different from their colleagues placed at Ghana Health Service?
The interview will be done at the various regions as a start and later at districts and faculties when the capacity is built.
It will gradually be like the way Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) is doing its engagement. NABCO has thought us good lessons. People applied for modules at district level and were interviewed at the district level where they are expected to work.
Posting is not employment. Automatic posting without interview to ensure filling of staffing gap at the levels is not efficient way to distribute health professionals. We need equity in the system to achieve the Universal Health Coverage and every Ghanaian should not be left out. Everyone needs quality healthcare irrespective of where you reside.
It is so perplexing everything in Ghana has become politics. We do not seek to find out the identified problem such policy seeks to address.
It is never right to have a quarter of qualified health staff in one region, while the others suffer low staff strength.
As much as authorities are doing its best to come out with incentives that will help attract and retain health professionals at the hard to reach areas, we cannot allow some taxpayers residing in hard to reach areas to suffer. They are also Ghanaians and some are voters. Hence they deserve to have access to healthcare services.
Government will continue to employ and those to be employed will go through a system, not by the Director-General or an officer sitting in Accra and posting people, but through interviews at the regional directorates.
The public should seek clarifications on such circulars from authentic and reliable sources within the ‘health policy implementing agency’, GHS to access accurate information.
Public Relations Unit
Ghana Health Service