The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) announced on Wednesday that salary negotiations for doctors for the period 2008/09 began earlier in the day with the government negotiation team.

A statement signed by Dr Emmanuel Adom Winful, President of GMA, said the government negotiation team and the Ministry of Health agreed with the position of the GMA that the negotiations should be completed before May 15. The doctors say their salaries have not been reviewed since January 2006.

The statement said the National Executive Committee would keep membership and the general public informed on any developments on the matter.

The Executive Committee has, meanwhile, urged junior doctors at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to resume normal duties pending the outcome of negotiations.

Dr George Sipa-Adja Yankey, Minister of Health, at a briefing prior to the meeting, said the outcome could lead to better salary and other working conditions for doctors and further help eliminate lapses in the system of payments of such money.

He called on both sides at the negotiating table to exercise caution and be reasonable in their demands, taking into account the limited government budget and resources of the country.

The Minister said the current administration inherited numerous problems in various sectors of the economy, including the health sector, but it was committed to resolving the outstanding problem of salaries of doctors once and for all.

He gave the assurance that the Ministry would do all it could to provide an enabling environment for health workers to operate.

Dr Yankey said currently all arrears, both fuel and other allowances owed doctors, had been paid.

Source: GNA