The minority caucus in parliament has condemned President Akufo-Addo led government for directing heads of Nursing Training Colleges to reserve 30 percent of admission for the government to recruit on protocol bases.
According to the Minority, the government through the Ministry of Health has directed all heads of Nursing training schools to reserve 30 per cent of new admission to the government for recruitment.
The Ranking Member of Health Committee of Parliament and MP for Juaboso, Hon Kwabena Mintah Akandoh revealed this at a press conference in Accra on Monday, August 15, 2022.
The Minority said the Ministry of Health’s recently issued a directives to Heads of Nursing Training Colleges which has resulted in the Council of Heads of Health Training institutions (COHHETI) ordering an immediate and indefinite suspension of admissions into their colleges.
Mr Akandoh explained that the Minority further gathered information that the directives require Nursing Training institutions to reserve a minimum of 30% of their total admissions for the Ministry of Health to complete whilst reasons for these reservations or the processes by which the Ministry expects to admit trainees into training colleges are currently undisclosed.
He said the minority viewed the directives as an attempt by government to clear a path that makes room for protocol admissions of party apparatchiks, candidates with deep pockets and those who under normal circumstances would not have qualified to gain admission to the Nursing Training Colleges.
The Juaboso lawmaker added that, if such political decision are allowed into our Health Training Institutions, it would not only affect the quality of health professionals but the healthcare delivery in the country.
He noted that, same unbridled corruption has recently characterised all admissions into government institutions especially in the various security agencies and teacher training schools.
While condemning the directives, the Minority said the restrictions on intake into Nursing Training Colleges is a smacks of policy incoherence and pure insensitivity to the purpose of the free senior high school policy.
They therefore demanded a total overhaul of the directives to Heads of Nursing Training Colleges to reserve a minimum of 30 percent of new admission as it would deprive more deserving and merit prospective students from gaining admission.
Currently, there are over 79 public Nursing Training Colleges in the country and new admission forms for the 2022/2023. academic year is being sold at a minimum of GHS 200.00.
Bellow is full press statement
Minority in Parliament demands that Ministry of Health removes bottlenecks on admissions into nursing training colleges and stop encroachment into their IGFs
Esteemed Members of the Press.
Colleague Members of Parliament.
I will like to thank you for making time for this press conference.
We, the Minority in Parliament, are deeply concerned about the Ministry of Health’s recent policy and administrative directives to Heads of Nursing Training Colleges which has resulted in the Council of Heads of Health Training Institutions (COHHETI) ordering an immediate and indefinite suspension of admissions into their colleges.
Per information reaching us, part of these new administrative directives require Nursing Training Institutions to reserve a minimum of 30% of their total admissions for the Ministry of Health to complete. The reasons for these reservations or the processes by which the Ministry expects to admit trainees into training colleges are currently undisclosed.
We see this new directive as an attempt by government to clear a path that makes room for protocol admissions of party apparatchiks, candidates with deep pockets and those who under normal circumstances will not gain admission to get access to these training colleges.
This we believe is a recipe for the unbridled corruption that has recently characterised all admissions into government institutions be it the police service, military recruitment, teacher training schools and now nursing training colleges.
Certainly, this must not be allowed to continue.
Per official communications from the Ministry of Health to nursing training colleges, colleges are now restricted to admit no more than 50% of their capacities. Underlying this restrictive admission directive is government’s inability to back its manifesto promise with the financial commitment required.
These restrictions on intake into Nursing training colleges smacks of policy incoherence and pure insensitivity. How can government claim to be improving access to nursing training by giving trainee allowances and on the other hand institute restrictive quotas to reduce same admissions by over 50%?
Again, is it not insensitive to implement a Free SHS policy that is expected to increase SHS graduates and then restrict access to tertiary education in nursing training colleges?
As we speak, first year students of Nursing Training Colleges are yet to receive their trainee allowances exposing the duplicity and dishonesty behind government’s noisemaking and propaganda.
Although government’s quotas relating to admission of nursing trainees at the various nursing training schools is not new to the Akufo-Addo government, the new set of administrative directives emanating from the Ministry of Health if left unchecked will be disastrous going into the future considering the current high attrition among health personnel.
In June this year the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) alerted the country of the fact that as of 1st June 2022, over 3,000 nurses and midwives have left the country to seek greener pastures abroad. Under this high attrition situation, one would ask if it therefore makes sense for government to maintain bottlenecks to nursing training just so it can claim to be fulfilling a pledge, we all know it is not fulfilling.
There have been suggestions from civil society organizations, political parties and principals of nursing training colleges that government should review its current policy on nursing trainee allowances in order to increase enrolments at our nursing training colleges.
In fact, information available to us points to the fact that principals of Nursing Training Colleges have also suggested that government should in the interim consider a hybrid system that admits both allowance-receiving and non-allowance-receiving students if payment of allowance is becoming a challenge for government. However, government seems to be committed to maintaining the allowance-payment policy even if has the potential to run our healthcare system into a ditch.
Also of greater concern is the encroachment of the Ministry of Health into the Internally Generated Funds of Health Training Institutions including Nursing Training Colleges.
Per the 2022 budget, as presented and passed by Parliament, Nursing Training Colleges are allowed to retain 100% of their internally generated funds for their operations. However, information gathered from Nursing Training Colleges indicates that the Ministry of Health has devised several mechanisms by which it collects all monies from sale of forms, takes a good percentage of IGF for interviews and organizes regular programmes requiring training colleges to fund.
A typical example was a programme organized by the Ministry of Health last week on the Preparation of Quarterly Financial Reports for covered entities at the Splendor Hotel in Kumasi. Prior to the start of this programme, participants were required to pay GHS2,400 in advance for their own accommodation and feeding at this event.
These devises have largely exacerbated the already precarious situation of inadequate subventions from central government for managing these colleges.
The Minority in Parliament therefore calls on government to as a matter of urgency reverse its policy directive on reserving 30% of admissions into nursing training colleges for the Ministry of Health and that without delay so that admission processes can continue.
We also call on government to address the self-imposed bottlenecks on admissions into nursing training colleges so they can run at full capacity.
The Ministry of Health is also hereby cautioned to desist from encroaching into the Internally Generated Funds of Colleges of Health and allow them to use their funds as directed by 2022 Budget Appropriations Act.