There is no clinical psychologist at the Anakaful Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Coast, one of the country’s only three psychiatric hospitals.
The Hospital Director, Dr Kwadwo Obeng Marfo, said the hospital needed not less than three clinical psychologists for effective work but could do with one for the time being.
The Hospital Director, who was briefing the deputy Minister of Health, Mr Alexander Abban, on the state of the facility during his working tour to the hospital last Wednesday, said there was a general shortage of staff at the hospital.
“We need more medical officers, psychiatric specialists and security personnel,” he stated.
Another concern of the management of the hospital, Dr Marfo noted, was the frequent power outages at the hospital which made the work environment dangerous, particularly at night.
A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional with highly specialised training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental, behaviourial and emotional illnesses.
Dr Marfo said it was a bit off the norm that a psychiatric hospital that saw many of the country’s psychiatric cases and even cases in some countries in the sub region did not have even one clinical psychologist.
He said the hospital had written to the Ministry of Finance for clearance for one to be posted to the hospital and asked the deputy minister to assist in that direction.
He said one clinical psychologist had been interviewed but the hospital did not have clearance from the Ministry of Finance to employ him.
Dr Marfo appealed to the deputy minister to ensure that psychiatric services and care were rolled on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
That, he explained, would make the management of facilities much easier and less dependent on funds from the ministry.
He said the hospital had taken steps to use their resources judiciously and had significantly reduced its debts.
Dr Marfo also expressed worry over the encroachment of the hospital’s lands and called for support to protect the lands.
Mr Abban said the ministry would continue to institute incentive packages for staff in rural and deprived areas to attract staff to those areas.
He said the ministry may need to work on documenting and registering all facility lands to protect them from encroachment.
He gave an assurance that the ministry would continue to ensure universal health suffrage for all Ghanaians.
The deputy minister earlier met with staff of the regional health directorate and urged them to work hard to improve health indicators while the ministry worked to improve work conditions.
Mr Abban later visited the Twifo Atti Mokwa District Health Directorate, interacted with staff of the Twifo Praso Government Hospital and inspected work on the new hospital for Twifo Praso.