The Vice President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the government to build a proper medical care system for the country. 

Dr Justice Yankson said the issue of ambulance charges for fuel will continue if this is not done. 

According to him, this is to be blamed on the delay by Ambulance service in transporting patients. 

He insisted that sometimes even when the patient is willing to fund the fuel cost, the ambulances delay because they do not have readily available beds for the patient. 

Dr Justice Yankson said sometimes the ambulance service would have to move the patient around the capital in search of a bed until it runs out of fuel. 

“Sometimes you even will call and have the ability to provide the fuel until you are able to let them understand that there is a dedicated bed at another facility to receive the patient, they (Ambulance service) are not ready to move reason being that they have to move the ambulance round all the facilities that have the resources even though not adequate to take care or emergencies and they might never get the bed.

“The patient is on the stretcher, they will take the patient back into the ambulance, they move around and by the time say jack, they are short of fuel. It has happened before and it will keep on happening especially in the current fuel pricing arrangement that we have where we are all sweating because of the cost. So for me, the way forward is very simple. We need to build a proper medical care system in the country and we need to have proper sources of funding.”

He spoke on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday, July 20, with Kojo Yankson. 

He spoke on the back of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ambulance Service’s (NAS) recent admission that his officers demanded GH₵600 from the husband of a pregnant woman before agreeing to transport the patient.

The patient, 30-year-old nursing mother, Augustina Awortwe, died whilst in transit due to the delay on the part of the officers of the Service.

Prof Ahmed Nuhu Zakaria, made the admission on Monday, July 18, when he appeared before the ad-hoc committee constituted by Parliament to investigate the incident, justified the charge of GH₵600.

According to him, it is standard practice.

“Because it was around the festivities, we were told they had exhausted their fuel. A communication went to the hospital that they didn’t have enough fuel, therefore they will need GH₵600 support of fuel.”

“According to the crew, they were assured that they could move because the hospital was going to arrange either directly or indirectly with the family of the patient to get the fuel support. So the impression was that the husband of the patient was going to provide that support,” he said. 

Meanwhile, on the same show yesterday, Tuesday, July 19, one Seidu Abdul Gafaru, narrated the ordeal his family went through with the NAS when his brother was knocked down by a car.

According to him, his brother, Seidu Mohammed had a head injury as a result of the accident and was rushed to the Damongo Government Hospital. 

He said upon reaching the hospital, they (family) were told he needed to be rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

According to him, their real ordeal started when the crew manning the ambulance which was to transport his brother demanded GH¢700 for fuel.

An amount, Seidu said the family did not have readily available. 

Seidu said his brother was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.