GHS Cracks Whip On ‘No Bed’ Syndrome

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has condemned the situation where health officials turn away patients who need emergency care for lack of beds.

According to the GHS, the unacceptable ‘No bed’ behaviour exhibited by health workers does not only result in poor service delivery but also contributes to preventable deaths and poor patient experience.

The health agency has, therefore, directed health facility managers across the country to, under no circumstance, refuse to admit a patient because there is no available bed, as part of measures to end the phenomenon.

“We have just sent letters round to the regions and the districts that no Ghana health facility from now should turn away any emergencies,” Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General of the GHS, stressed.

Dr Nsiah-Asare explained that it is the responsibility of all health facilities to stabilise the patient and arrange for proper transfer, of such patients if need be, to another hospital.

Speaking with DAILY GUIDE on the sidelines of the maiden Maternal Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) conference in Accra, Dr Nsiah-Asare stated that beds are to be managed efficiently and are to be made available at all times for patients.

He cited that beds are not necessarily needed to treat emergencies cases as it can be handled anywhere in the hospital, including the couch, on the table, in a wheel chair and on a bed, adding that there should be no reason at anytime for a health worker to say there is no bed for an emergency.

“We are all there because of the patients and because of our people, so I am charging all managers of hospitals and especially chief nursing officers and nursing managers to make sure there is enough beds to cater for emergencies,” he reiterated.

Reports of poor treatments of patients, especially pregnant women and the aged by some health workers in hospitals have been recorded in the last few months.

It could be recalled that a 70-year-old man died over the weekend in what his family believes was an avoidable death.

The late Prince Anthony Opoku Acheampong spent almost two hours being transported from one hospital to the other by his family to seek urgent medical attention.

They covered about 50 kilometres travelling to seven major hospitals where doctors and nurses refused to attend to him because they said there were no beds.

Also, a 21-year-old woman died with her triplets when she was being delivered of her babies following alleged negligence on the part of nurses at the Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua.

Furthermore, a midwife stationed at the Suhum Government Hospital in the Eastern Region got infuriated by the ‘labour noise’ of a pregnant woman that she decided slaps were the best solution to shut ‘her patient’ up.

The pregnant woman was reportedly bleeding profusely and in pain which necessitated her wailing, but the nurse didn’t take kindly to that and resorted to slapping the pregnant woman to shut her up as she was ‘disturbing’ the entire hospital.

The Chairman of the GHS Council, Dr Yao Yeboah, assured the public that investigations will be conducted into the various situations and those found culpable will be sanctioned.


By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Juliana Naki Odonkor