Justice for sale, Chief Psychiatrist accuses Accra court over land encroachment case.

By Anny Osabutey & Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum

Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority Dr. Akwasi Osei has accused a court in Accra for prioritizing monetary gains at the expense of the health of patients at the Pantang psychiatric hospital, over a disputed land.

The court, after five years of litigation, ruled against the hospital over several acres of land they say have been encroached upon by private developers, who are putting up apartments for rent and sale.

Large portions of the hospital land have been cleared for private development

Staff of the hospital on Monday morning remonstrated against the court’s decision by embarking on strike, compelling the hospital to turn away several patients waiting to be taken care off. Some of the patients in the company of relatives had travelled from other regions including the Volta, but had to be turned away because no staff member was willing to attend to them. Not even pleas from senior officers of the hospital could convince them to resume work, as they expressed their determination to continue with the strike until a “concrete solution” is found to their grievances.

Obviously frustrated by the decision of the staff not to work, Dr. Osei, who joined them to inspect some of the encroached lands, told www.primenewsghana.com the decision by the court is regrettable, insisting public interest was sacrificed in this case.

The Chief Psychiatrist led a team of journalist and staff to the encroached areas

The staff are in full support of attempts by their leaders to reclaim the land for possible future expansion of the hospital

 “it makes sense to say this may have been left for the possible expansion of the place in future, so for anybody to and build on it just because it has not been acquired in our name, just doesn’t  make sense,” he said; “And for the court not to recognize that and rule against us we say the court erred, because under normal circumstances we don’t see why we (the court) cannot consider public interest to say let the land be.”

Dr. Osei said they will meet with government legal team to appeal the decision since they cannot allow this issue to linger any further.

The hospital  was built in the mid 1970s and the second after the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, to assist ease the pressure on the latter. But it has seen very little growth in infrastructure and the latest is one example of the challenges it faces to remain provide quality healthcare in the country.

find below the interview with Dr. Akwasi Osei

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