Pharmacists across the country under the leadership of the Government and Hospitals Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) would begin rendering emergency services to HIV/AIDS and critically ill in-patients at psychiatric hospitals.

This followed an assurance by the government through the Minister of Health, Sherry Ayittey, to resolve the issue of their conversion difference and agreed structure within 30 days.

Stephen Okoe Corquaye, GHOSPA president who confirmed the decision of the association to DAILY GUIDE said the association?s agreement to provide services for HIV/AIDS patients and in-patients of psychiatric hospital was as a result of the  impact of the strike action on these two categories of people.

?Those with HIV/AIDS may develop resistance to the drugs they are taking and that may increase their health bill and in-patients at the psychiatric hospitals may have a withdrawal syndrome or relapse,? he said.

Mr Corquaye however noted that the association had not called off its strike action but was rather putting a human face to the situation as their issues were being resolved by government.

?We have said we are not happy with the situation more so when the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) is not complying with the National Labour Commission?s (NLC) ruling to use the agreed structure,? he said.

He added that government, through the NLC, should enforce their ruling for the FWSC to comply with the verdict that the agreed structure and conversion difference be used for grading the pharmacists.

?For four months now, the FWSC have not complied with the directive of the NLC and the NLC have done nothing about it but in the case of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), they went to court to enforce their ruling, why are they not doing the same for us?? he asked.

The president of GHOSPA further indicated that the association was willing to call off the strike, should they have a written commitment from government to solve their grievances.

?We have already dealt with the issue at the NLC, and we want a written commitment from government that will make us rescind our decision so the other issues can be addressed within the 30-day period,? he said.

Mr Corquaye urged the public not to put the blame on the pharmacists but the authorities who had failed to implement the decision of the NLC.

GHOSPA intensified its month-long strike action two weeks ago, by withdrawing emergency services to psychiatric patients and the provision of Anti Retro-Viral (ARV) drugs.

The action was necessitated by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission?s (FWSC) failure to abide by the ruling of the National Labour Commission (NLC) to use the grading structure provided by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for pharmacists.

The NLC had, in an earlier hearing of the case, dismissed an application by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) which sought to stay execution of its ruling that the FWSC should use the grading structure provided by the GHS for pharmacists.

The NLC in their ruling directed the FWSC to put the pharmacists on the right levels as stipulated in the salary structure presented by the GHS and also resolve the issue of market premium; however, the FWSC had done nothing about the directive given by the NLC.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri

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