UGMC finally opened on referral basis

After several months of delay and controversy over who must manage the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the ultra-modern health facility has been opened for public use, Wednesday.

Managers of the hospital say the UGMC will not be a walk-in facility, adding patients will only be treated on a referral basis.

Like the Korle Bu Teaching hospital, patients with minor ailments and without referrals from other hospitals cannot walk into the new facility.

Joy News’ Maxwell Agbagba who was present at the center said the hospital, when fully operational, will be providing services on medical training and simulation, diagnostics as well as services to women and children.

In the interim, however, the outpatient and administrative unit of the hospital will be fully functional.

The first phase of the UGMC was constructed and commissioned in 2016 during the Mahama administration at a cost of $217 million.

However, it was closed for several months in what became a turf war between government and officials of the University of Ghana.

Government had issued a directive for a takeover of the administration of the hospital in the public interest

The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Mr Robert Cudjoe, explained that the directive had become necessary because it appeared the hospital was going to be run by the university as a private entity, a situation which would disadvantage the public.

But officials of the University of Ghana resisted the attempt.

Subsequently the Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu said the facility was not ready for use citing the absence of some facilities including a generator.

The explanations did not go down well with members of the public, with some engaging in social media campaign to have the facility opened.A student of the university was arrested after he accosted the first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo with a placard demanding the opening of the hospital.

He was later released. After days of congestion in many of the public health facilities, the UGMC has finally been opened.

Interim CEO Dr Darius Osei says in the next six months phase one and phase of the hospital should be fully operational.

“As we move we will complement the wards with the requisite manpower be it, specialists or nurses. For the first two months we will focus on OPD, collaborate with others.

Government has provided an amount of $48 million for the completion of the project.