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Locum, Private Health Facilities and the Law

It is difficult to determine the number of health workers employed by government and work in private health facilities during their spare time. Obviously they do not inform any authority and at times, not even their friends, so it is difficult to know the number involve.  Again it is difficult to know public sector health workers behind private establishment such as pharmaceutical shops, hospitals and laboratory services among others.   It's all good since rendering services to people who hitherto might have gone to queue at specific health facilities, get the chance to be attended to. Arguably rendering medical services for people in private institutions cannot be avoided. This is more so when people approach health workers in communities for medical attention. This system called CHPS, is mostly practiced at the rural areas. Further, government health facilities do not provide some services which have become the specialties of private health facilities in and around their places of work. In addition, bureaucratic procedures do not allow smooth running of some services at the government health facilities as medical consumables are not supply on time.

Despite the above, there is the need to recognize that, there are laws governing the usage of spare time when you are employee of an establishment in Ghana. The popular test case that the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners (IHRMP), stresses on is "Arkhurst vrs Ghana Museum and Monuments Board (1975) 2GLR 1" In this case, Arkhurst was employed to produce artifacts and wall hangings by the board for export. In his spare time, he produced similar museum objects, which, without license, he exported.

The board dismissed Arkhurst since his private job conflicted with the interest of his employers. He sued the board for wrongful dismissal. Justice Abban dismissed his claim as follows:

"an employee owes a duty of fidelity to his employers even in his spare time and where an employee knowingly, deliberately and secretly in his spare time does any act, that is likely to be prejudicial to the interests of the employers, they are entitled to dismiss him".

 This ruling has become a test case where conflicts are referred to. The judgment is clear. The interpretation is also clear. It is up to all health workers to watch and not foul of the law. Page Content goes here