‘Allocate ambulances to health facilities’

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor
Mr Ebo Hammond addressing the gathering
Mr Ebo Hammond addressing the gathering

The Deputy Director of Transport with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Mr Ebo Hammond, has called on the government to allocate ambulances to heath facilities to enhance intra-hospital transfer of patients.

He said the current system where ambulances were allocated solely to the National Ambulance Service to the neglect of hospitals was not helping with quality healthcare service in the country.

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According to him, allocation of ambulances to health facilities would enable the National Ambulance Service to focus more on inter-city and road emergency transfers.

Mr Hammond, who was speaking at the third national delegates’ conference of the Health Service Drivers Association of Ghana (HeSDAG) in Kumasi last Friday, noted that more often than not, health facilities had had to rely on the HeSDAG’s vehicles to transport patients on emergency transfers to other health facilities because they did not have ambulances of their own.

Sadly, he said, lives had been lost because, in some instances, the kinds of transport used in conveying patients were not appropriate.

Temporary workers

Mr Hammond commended the members of the association for the crucial role they were playing in the country’s health care system.

He said the GHS had a total of 994 drivers, out of which 24 per cent were drivers on temporary service and not on payroll.

This, he emphasised, did not augur well for the GHS as such drivers did not owe allegiance to the service and could leave at any time.

Furthermore, he said, the drivers on temporary hire could not give their best because there was no job security.

He cited an incident that occurred in the Upper West Region where a temporary driver who got involved in an accident left the car at the accident scene and run away and could not be traced.

Mr Hammond urged the government to consider employing drivers for the health sector since their number currently was woefully inadequate.

Critical role

The acting President of the association, Mr William Ansere, said drivers played critical roles in the health care system in the country, requiring that they were well motivated to further improve on their performance.

He said regrettably, many drivers working with the ministry were sabotaged, underrated and treated as nonentities.

“In most instances, drivers are left out of training programmes,” he said, and appealed to the government to regularise the status of drivers the same way it had done for other category of health workers so that drivers could also enjoy promotion within the health service.

Currently, he said the highest a driver could rise to was the position of a Principal Driver which he said was not motivating enough.

The Director of Administration of the GHS, Mr Kofi Poku, advised the drivers to be abreast of the changes in the profession.

He lauded them for the important role they played in the sector, particularly during health campaigns.