Patients requiring laboratory tests at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) have been left stranded as scientists embark on a sit-down strike over the appointment of two medical doctors to their department.

The Medical Laboratory Scientists and allied professionals began the strike Thursday, May 20, to protest the decision of the Management of the Hospital to post two Doctors to work in their Unit.

According to them, professional members of the association who qualify to fill the two available slots have been sacrificed for the Medical Doctors who they argue should not be working in the labs.

Speaking to JoyNews, the Local Union Chairman of Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) at KATH, Ernest Badu-Boateng acknowledged that the situation is unfortunate but blamed authorities for the development.

“We are not happy because we decided to dialogue for good two years but Management and the Ministry did not heed to our call and that is what has brought us to this stage today.”

As the strike is in its early stage, Mr Badu-Boateng wants the Management and authorities to step in to resolve matters “so we can quickly resume work and stop this needless situation in which patients are going around in search of a place to do lab tests.”

According to him, they always go through struggle in getting placement for people in their field and that has always been a problem because they are underestimated.

“We are always seen as the weaker points or the under-dogs because laboratories have always been seen as a place where Doctors can easily colonize.

“So based on that we also had to show management that yes, we just don’t talk in a vacuum but we are ready and we are resolute to carry out whatever mandate that the GEA has given to us.”

He said the over 300 members of the Association which comprise laboratory scientists, technicians and assistants “have grown over the years, and so there are professionals within the laboratory services who have been licenced.”

Members of the Association, therefore, want the Medical Doctors to concentrate on their specialities and leave that of the laboratory.

“We practice laboratory science, and they practice medicine. The two are different by law under Act 857 and so all we are saying is that they should be in their lane, they practice their medicine and leave us to also practice our medical laboratory science.”

Mr Badu-Boateng said the presence of the doctors in their labs means the laboratory scientist is undermined adding that “we will not agree because the two professions are different.”

“It is not the duty of a doctor to request a lab and come and run the test,” he said.