An estimated 300 casual workers in public hospitals and health centres across the country are to be laid off, following a directive from the Ministry of Health (MoH).
A letter dated April 14, 2014 and signed by the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, is said to have directed the management of public hospitals and health centres throughout the country to outsource some services and use nurses already on the government’s payroll, to fill healthcare roles.
The letter was copied to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS) and the Directors of Human Resources for the Ministry’s Health Directorate and the GHS.
The letter has also been distributed to all regional directors of health services, all chief executive officers of the teaching hospitals and the medical directors of the psychiatric hospitals.
Even though the total number of workers to be affected is unknown, at least 300 of them work in the nine health facilities in the Accra metropolis.
The directive follows recent efforts by some of the casual workers, who have been employed for between four and 12 years, to get their employment status regularised.
The letter said the move to lay off the casual workers was “to ensure continuity of quality care provision”. It added that some staffing, including labourers, security guards and cleaners could be outsourced “in line with the laid down procurement procedure”. Hospitals will need to seek approval from the minister before engaging companies to provide these services.
Health assistants would have their employment terminated after paying them their three-month salaries. Nurses trained at public health training institutions who were already on the payroll would fill existing healthcare gaps.