The Psychiatric Nurses Group has backed calls on Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang-Manu, to remove Director of the Ankanful Psychiatric Hospital in the Central Region, Dr. Eugene Dordoye, from office.

The Ankaful nurses have been demanding the exit of Dr. Dordoye after they levelled allegations of corruption and abuse of human rights against him.

They are still on a sit-down strike to mount pressure on the authorities to sack Dr Dordoye.

The Psychiatric Nurses Group, in a statement, said fact-finding exercises separately conducted by the Mental Health Authority and by them, confirmed that the attitude of the embattled hospital director is hostile and autocratic, hence they support the move by their colleagues at Ankaful to strike until Dr Dordoye is removed from office.

Meanwhile, Mr Agyemang-Manu has pleaded with the nurses to give him three months to resolve the matter.

Below is the full statement from the Psychiatric Nurses Group:

NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF NURSES AT ANKAFUL PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL.

We write as the National Executives of the Psychiatric Nurses Group (PNG) to establish our staunch support for our member nurses at the above named hospital.

On behalf of the entire members of mental health nurses and community mental health nurses fraternity in the country, we wish to state a few opinions of our membership with regards to the challenges at Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, especially the request for an appropriate team leader who can ensure reforms whiles at the same time sustaining a cohesive mental health team that abides by the tenets of a positive workplace culture to the benefit of all especially clients and their respective families. We wish to categorically state that, no nurse in Ankaful and for that matter Ghana in general abhors change. Change is inevitable and change is a process. Change will reduce the workload and improve productivity. As a result, contrary to impression created by the director, nurses could own and champion change if they are made to buy into the need for change.

Background

We have followed with keen interest developments at Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital hence we took it upon ourselves to embark on a "Fact Finding Mission" at Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital in respect of the nurses petition seeking the removal of the Hospitals Director (HD). Facts on the ground are of great magnitude which cannot be overlooked. The grounds upon which the call is made are justified; it is not personally targeted nor unduly influenced.

There are serious issues that borders on the managerial style of the Director at the Hospital, and PNG has arrived at a determination that per the facts on the ground and the revelations contained in the Mental Health Authority's (MHA's) investigative report, the nurses and the other professionals have been "mentally enslaved". We would like to remind you about the theme for this year's Mental Health Day (MHD) which is: "Mental Health In The Work Place." Kindly find attached a copy of a flyer by the MHA to commemorate this years MHD celebrations which contains the effects of work-related stress.

The hospital director

This is the man:

1. who has consistently shown GROSS DISRESPECT to the nurses and other workers at the hospital.
He has openly insulted and humiliated nurses and others on countless occasions in the presence of patients, relatives, and trainees.

2. who has violated and continue to violate the rights of his subordinate workers.

He has on some occasions unjustifiably denied staff of their earned annual leave as against the labour practices in Ghana. He blatantly refused to release some staff despite having successfully secured an approval from the MHA to work in other hospitals/units with the reason that, the staff owes rent for staying in a dilapidated building which he has condemn that he wonders how human beings can stay at that facility.

3. who has openly said his leadership style is autocracy and has consistently sought to oppress other employees at the hospital. He has clearly indicated that so far as he remains Ankaful's head, what he says is final and that whether one agrees with him or not, no person nor any authority can do anything to him.

4. who has openly confessed that he cannot change his style of leadership

Meeting with the Hon. Minister of Health

In an attempt to resolve the matter, the Hon. Health Minister invited the Group's leadership (local executives) to a meeting at the Health Ministry on 28th of November, 2017. In attendance were the CEO of the MHA, PNG national representatives and the President of the Ghana Registered Nurses & Midwives Association. The worries of the nurses were duly and orally submitted to the Minister and the call for the Hospital Director's removal reiterated.

The Hon. Minister maintained that removal of the HD is something he is not comfortable with, citing "bad precedence" for the health sector as his concerns. He also indicated that despite the stated attitudinal challenges, Ankaful Hospital is still doing well (even though no evidence was provided to that effect); and that he does not deem the acts of disrespect, the stated abuses of the nurses right, and the autocratic leadership as strong basis upon which the Director would have to be removed. Subsequently he pleaded with the nurses to forgive the man, and requested that we observe the man's behavior over a 3-month period, during which he expect a positive change in behavior. However, no timeline or measures of evaluation was stated.

Due respect was accorded the Hon. Minister, and subsequent assurance was given him that the information would be taken down to the members (in whose powers the mandate is drawn) for further deliberations, ending the meeting on that note.

Matters Arising

In a related development, the HD has persistently accused the Hospital's Administrator, the DDNS I/C and the local PNG executives as spearheading the unrest, and has accordingly threatened to deal with them if efforts to get him removed fails.

PNG is of the view that the Director's assertion that "no authority can do anything to him", and his subsequent threat to "deal with them" is manifesting; and it should not be difficult for us to conclude that certain higher powers are behind/supporting him, hence his continuous demonstration of unremorseful attitude. With respect to setting bad precedence, it must be stated that, a director of nursing services was removed from office for abusing his office at Accra Psychiatric Hospital under the MHA in 2015. We only call for fairness in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Work Place and Stress

The Directors conducts constitute "workplace bullying" which is forbidden in our laws. The stress that comes with workplace bullying can take major toll on the victims. Not only does bullying create significant mental health issues but it can also manifest in physical consequences such as hypertension among other heart related conditions and absenteeism. The only major reason why people commit suicide is unbearable stress.

The workers at mental health facilities especially nurses are already and unduly exposed to stress due to poor conditions of service, so for a certain manager to worsen the situation for them will not be tolerated.

Intelligence and Leadership

The primary reason why smart leaders fail is due to lack of emotional intelligence. It is reported that, only 10-20% of competencies that distinguish outstanding leaders are cognitive/intellectual abilities whereas 90% is linked to emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman (1995) states in a Harvard Business Review article titled What makes a Leader?", that;

1. the smartest people are not always the best leaders; some leaders are too smart for their own good and fail to connect with their followers.

2. IQ and technical skills matter mainly as "threshold capabilities" that may get a person the job, but may not keep him/her in it.

3. cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long term vision are very important, however, the higher the rank of the person in an organization, the more emotional intelligence capabilities show up as a reason for their effectiveness.

We have no doubt about the intellectual capabilities of the director. However, what we are not comfortable with is his bullying and harassing style of management. During our visit to the hospital recently, it was evident that the staffs have been battered psychologically and morale is at its lowest ebb; thus, the continuous stay in office of the director amounts to continuous psychological torture.

Consequently, WE SUPPORT EVERY ACTION PNG AT ANKANFUL PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL IS UNDERTAKING TO REMEDY THE SITUATION INCLUDING THE DECLARED SIT-DOWN ACTIONS; as in our estimation a psychologically distressed worker can commit irreversible errors, especially when the workers involved are dealing with human lives. It is therefore proper to sit back than to render oneself vulnerable to medico-legal issues.

It must also be noted that, the attitude of the HD has resulted in mistrust among staff, hence the slightest provocation from any party may light up flames, and to avoid such problems it will be prudent to heed the call of the larger staff to remove a single individual for the sake of peace and tranquility in Ankaful. It can never be the case that the staff does not have a case.

Conclusion

We would like to urge our member nurses at Ankaful to remain calm and resolute in these difficult times, and we call on the sector minister to revise his approach, in order to ENSURE PEACEFUL RESOLUTION. We would also like to reiterate the fact that, the PNG will resist every effort to infiltrate and destroy the perfect structure of our rank and file in Ghana.

(SIGNED)
Mr. Samuel Hanu (The Vice Chairperson)
For: The Chairperson

Emmanuella Awude
(The Secretary)

The Spokesperson

Philip Frempong Okyere

Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/91.3FM



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