The Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists (GACRA) has called on the Ministry of Health to create a separate regulatory Council for Certified Registered Anaesthetists in Ghana.
The GACRA said despite several complains about the unfair treatment from its current regulator, the Medical and Dental Council (MDC) of Ghana, the Association’s quest to have a separate regulatory body had yielded no results.
The Association, through its President, Mr James Nwisangra, made the call at its fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific session in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Regional capital.
The AGM, chaired by the Tongraan, Naab Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, was on the theme: “Sustaining the practice of Anaesthesia in Ghana amidst the brain drain; policy direction and regulation.”
The meeting afforded the Association the opportunity to take stock and inventory of its programme of activities, reflect over their performance, identify their achievements, shortfalls and to strategize to improve on their significant contribution to healthcare delivery in Ghana.
Mr Nwisangra said since the enactment of the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act 857, among other issues, their regulator had refused to recognize the name; Certified Registered Anaesthetists (CRA).
Apart from that, he noted that the regulator also bluntly refused to open a separate register for the CRA and, therefore, appealed to the Ministry to create a separate Council for them.
“GACRA wishes to humbly request the Ministry to create a separate regulatory Council for CRAs, therefore, calling for amendment of Act 857. The amendment should take CRAs out of the MDC and position us in a better regulatory framework.
“CRAs are committed to carrying out their duties in a free and peaceful working and regulatory environment,” the Association’s President said.
Mr Nwisangra further bemoaned the “wrongful placement” of CRAs on the Single Spine Salary Structure, especially those at the district levels often overburdened with workload and frequent calls at night to attend to emergency cases.
He announced to members that the Ministry of Health had directed the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to review their salary placement and called on the FWSC and the employer to speed up the process, saying “We have been shortchanged for far too long.”
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, in a speech read on his behalf, noted that the Ministry received several concerns from the GACRA and was working to have them addressed.
On the issue of regulation, he said the Ministry was engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that they got their regulatory body to practice within a framework that would improve their career as professionals.
The Sector Minister acknowledged that the magnitude of work done by the CRAs does not much their current placement on the salary structure, and as a result, the Ministry had officially communicated to the FWSC to undertake a job re-evaluation to correct the placement of the CRAs on the salary scale.
Mr Agyeman-Manu noted that poor conditions of service was one of the major problems CRAs faced, and said processes were underway to have it resolved.
“As part of the Ministry’s desire for an improved Conditions of Service for the CRAs, FWSC and all other stakeholders have been put together to ensure a successful completion of the process.
“In addition, the Ministry wishes to assure GACRA that, the 2021 batch of students who have successfully completed both professional and licentiate examinations would be converted as soon as possible,” he said.
The Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central in the Bono Region, appealed to executives of the GACRA and its entire membership to continue to engage the Ministry and its stakeholders on their concerns for redress.