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MINOR AND MAJOR OFFENCES UNDER THE GHS CODE OF CONDUCT

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The Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures for Ghana Health Service (GHS) was developed in 2003 to regulate the conduct of all managers and employees at the respective levels of the Service in their normal relations and dealings with patients, clients, and fellow employees, and the public. This was to address the pertinent issues relating to general administrative rules and regulations, professional codes of ethics, staff conduct and policy guidelines. In 2018, the code was revised to conform to international best practices, and changes in the law and policy.

According to GHS, offences shall be categorized as minor or major and shall be dealt with and managed under the various provisions of this code and shall attract corresponding degrees of punitive action.

Minor Offences

Minor offences shall include:

  1. Reporting late for work or leaving or closing earlier without permission.
  2. Absence from duty without reasonable cause/excuse
  3. Any attitude or act(s)of rudeness and insubordination to his/her superiors, colleagues or clients at the workplace.
  4. Inappropriate and unauthorized use of office, medical and other equipment being the property of the Service for unofficial/personal jobs.
  5. The use of materials, stationery, medication and other supplies belonging to the Service without authority.
  6. Providing false information to discredit the Service or cause disaffection from the public.
  7. Withholding vital information with the intention of misleading management, clients or the public.
  8. Pre-empting clinical and other decisions or actions.
  9. Disclosure of official/client information to unauthorized persons.
  10. Sexual harassment.
  11. Sleeping while on duty.
  12. Use of abusive language.
  13. Loafing.
  14. Undue interference with other people’s jobs.
  15. Occasional intoxication or drunkenness while on duty.
  16. Non-compliance with official dress code.
  17. Taking part in illegal demonstration(s) or industrial actions
  18. Unnecessary noise making.
  19. Failure to handover administrative duties and official properties properly.
  20. Quarrelling within official premises.
  21. Failure to submit requisite data and reports.
  22. Illegal or unauthorized collection of fees from clients/patients.
  23. Misuse of corporate computing and networking equipment, internet access and network resources.
  24. Failure to put in place /ensure appropriate safeguards for the physical security and monitoring of computing devices assigned to employees for corporate use.
  25. Circumventing certain minor aspects of human-subject requirements in the course of research.
  26. Inadequate record-keeping related to research projects.
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Penalties for Minor Offences

The under-listed are a range of penalties that could be selectively used as disciplinary measures for minor offences.

  1. Verbal warning in the first instance.
  2. Warning in writing.
  3. Suspension from duty without pay and allowances for not more than ten (10) working days.
  4. Reduction/forfeiture of annual leave.
  5. Temporary change of schedule to a less responsible one.
  6. Refund of illegal/unauthorised money from clients/patients.

Major Offences

The under-listed offences shall be considered as major offences.

  1. Theft, embezzlement, fraud, or any other situation of negligence leading to financial loss to the Service.
  2. Rape or sexual harassment of co-workers, patients/clients or their relations.
  3. Physical assault of co-workers, patients/clients.
  4. Persistent /habitual intoxication while at the workplace.
  5. Trafficking in and use of narcotic drugs.
  6. Smoking at the workplace.
  7. Improper demand or collection of unauthorized fees.
  8. Falsification of official/client’s records.
  9. Criminal conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  10. Gross insubordination or refusal to perform an authorized duty.
  11. Negligence and misuse of equipment, vehicles, buildings, and furniture of the Service.
  12. Divulging confidential information without lawful authority to other staff, clients, or any member of the general public.
  13. Persistent/habitual absence from duty without permission or reasonable cause.
  14. Refusal to attend to or responding late to an emergency duty/call.
  15. Unauthorized absence whiles on emergency duty.
  16. Indecent exposure of parts or all of the body while on duty.
  17. Failure to adhere to official dress code.
  18. Vacation of post, refusal to go on posting and desertion of station or post.
  19. Impersonation.
  20. Professional misconduct, malpractice, and negligence.
  21. Breaching financial policies and procedures.
  22. Disclosure of official information to unauthorized persons which brings the Service into disrepute.
  23. Wilful destruction of official documents/property.
  24. Seduction of patient/client or their relations while under the care of the institution.
  25. Refusal to handover or improper handing over of official responsibility when required.
  26. Failure to appear before a disciplinary committee without prior permission in writing.
  27. Failure to comply with disciplinary penalties/awards.
  28. Persistent failure to answer queries despite reminders/warnings.
  29. Circumventing or subverting ICT and other security systems within the Service.
  30. Failure to comply with the country’s legislative framework governing the use, storage and transmission of healthcare electronic data.
  31. Misuse of corporate computing and networking equipment, internet access and network resources.
  32. Use of Illegal copyright or intellectual property right materials (electronic and manual).
  33. Failure to put in place /ensure appropriate safeguards for the physical security and monitoring of computing devices assigned to employees for Corporate use.
  34. Failure to adhere to policies and procedures governing the privacy, confidentiality and integrity of electronic medical records, other official electronic records, and ICT systems.
  35. Use of suggestive, vulgar and/ or obscene language when using the Corporate ICT system.
  36. Use of corporate email or other messaging services for private business activities.
  37. Use of corporate ICT systems for cybercrimes.
  38. Use of corporate ICT systems to create, view, publish or transmit pornographic materials.
  39. Use of unauthorized/illegal software (purchased or downloaded) including browser toolbars or hardware.
  40. Falsifying research data.
  41. Ignoring major aspects of human-subject ethical requirements.
  42. Using another’s ideas without obtaining permission or giving due credit (plagiarism).
  43. Unauthorized use of confidential information in connection with one’s own research.
  44. Failing to present data that contradict one’s own previous research.
  45. Publishing the same data or results in two or more publications.
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Penalties for Major Offences

  1. Suspension of salary for one month
  2. Deferment of due promotion for 1 to 3 years depending on the gravity of the offence.
  3. Dismissal and subsequent forfeiture of end of service benefits (if any) with exception of social security contributions.
  4. Removal from office. (termination of engagement without loss of end of service benefits)
  5. Reduction in rank. (immediate demotion in grade and accompanying salary reduction)
  6. Change of work schedule or place.
  7. Postponement or cancellation of training and any awards.
  8. Refund of monies lost to the Service.
  9. Refund of monies illegally collected from patients/clients.
  10. Withholding of salary increment for one year.
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In all cases of vacation of post the employee’s salary must be immediately suspended and indicated in the report sent to the higher authority.

In case of suspension or reduction of salary or suspension of salary increment, written information must be submitted to the Controller and Accountants General’s Department to effect the needed action.

Without limiting or contradicting the provisions of this section and for the avoidance of doubt, the persistence and gravity of the offence shall form the basis of determining whether it is a minor or a major offence and the right to determine such cases shall be the prerogative of the disciplinary authority. Any act of misconduct by an employee of the GHS not expressly mentioned in this document or any regulations operating within the Service shall be reported to the Director-General, who may, after consultation with the GHS Council and other authority/authorities, issue instructions as to how it should be dealt with.

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