Nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital have laid down their tools over what they describe as a dangerous working environment at the facility.
The indefinite strike which starts on Monday, October 31 is also to push the government to provide the facility with the basic logistics they require to carry out their work effectively.
A statement signed by the chairperson of the nurses, Jamilatu Hussein said they have been compelled to put their safety above the health of the patients because “the safety of the workers, especially in the psychiatric setting is non-negotiable.”
According to the nurses, they have had to endure physical assaults by patients 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,” the statement said.
According to the nurses, the strike has also been necessitated due to the absence of an insurance policy or risk allowance to cover the bills of staff who sustain injuries in the line of duty.
“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,” the statement added.
Kobby Blay is the chief health editor at Ghanahealthnest.com. A professional practicing nurse with specialty in mental health and focus for health communications, public health, medical/documentary photography, ICT and systems perspective for health improvement.