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Experienced Healthcare Professionals Leaving Pantang Hospital in Search of Better Opportunities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Experienced Healthcare Professionals Leaving Pantang Hospital in Search of Better Opportunities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the past six years, almost 150 experienced nurses and other healthcare professionals have left Pantang Hospital in search of better opportunities. Of the departures, 100 were specialized psychiatric and general nurses, with the remaining workers being made up of doctors, pharmacists, technicians, and other experienced healthcare personnel.

Data obtained from the hospital revealed that the number of professionals abandoning their jobs started to increase alarmingly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend has impacted the government’s efforts to increase the workforce at the hospital, as it has recruited an additional 179 staff, including 129 professional nurses, between 2018 and 2022.

Metro Lens

An analysis of the data shows that the number of departures has risen steadily, with eight professionals leaving in 2018, 26 in 2020, and a peak of 64 resignations in 2022. The situation has become more concerning, with 11 experienced professionals leaving in January 2023 alone. This development has been reported to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for resolution.

According to Dr. Frank Baning, the Medical Director of the hospital, the departure of experienced nurses and healthcare professionals has negatively impacted the medical department of the hospital, and the government’s efforts to reinforce staff strength through fresh recruits are insufficient. He added that the situation is putting a significant burden, pressure, and stress on the few remaining staff to work for the hospital and the country in general, affecting the quality of healthcare delivery.

The Medical Director noted that the category of nurses leaving fell within the professional level, and the hospital requires about 1,000 professional nurses to provide both mental and general services. However, the facility currently only has 286 nurses doing the work of 1,000 people, making the additional recruits of the government insufficient. The hospital has also lost personnel in critical areas such as biomedical engineers, radiographers, and pharmacists.

Multiple sources at the MoH confirmed that the ministry had been adequately informed about the Pantang Hospital situation and that the issue was nationwide as most health professionals were leaving the country to seek better opportunities abroad. Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the government had taken notice of the situation and had adopted measures to address the shortage of professional nurses, such as expanding study leave for auxiliary nurses and offering amnesty to auxiliary nurses who obtained higher certificates without prior approval from the appropriate authorities. The GHS Director-General also mentioned that a comprehensive assessment would be conducted to ascertain the impact of nurses leaving Ghana for greener pastures.

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