HeFRA calls on media to route their request for information through PR office

Accra, July 10, GNA- The Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA) has appealed to media houses seeking information to make their Public Relations Department the first point of call

“The Agency wants to assure the public that the nation’s health facilities regulator is doing the best under often resource-constrained circumstances and we encourage the public and the media to route their requests for information through the PR office of the Agency.”

This was in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday denying some allegations levelled against them by some media outlets.

It added: “Our attention has been drawn to many unfounded allegations in the media space, and the Agency wants to respond to these claims as follows.”

On meeting to sack Directors that speak to the media, the statement said ‘the above allegation is entirely groundless and false. There has not been any emergency directors meeting at the Agency on the said date. Management wishes to appeal to anyone seeking information about the Agency to direct their requests or concerns through the appropriate channels’.

The statement said HeFRA recruits and promotes qualified individuals, including the Head of HR, into leadership positions.

“We advise the media to refrain from publishing unsubstantiated and potentially defamatory statements about identifiable individuals.

On payment of employees without any work done, the statement said “Anytime unit heads report staff non-attendance to work to management, the individuals are dealt with. From year to date, eight (8) staff have been separated from the Agency, mainly due to non-attendance. The above information is privileged and may not be known to those making the spurious allegations”.

On alleged incident involving a pregnant woman at a private hospital, the statement said the team from the monitoring unit was dispatched from the HeFRA head office to engage the medical doctors, including the Obstetrician/Gynecologist and other staff of the facility (hospital).

“The findings were reported to management and the board. The family chose to settle the matter with the hospital. The facility instituted measures to prevent future occurrences”.

The statement added that HeFRA it takes complaints about facilities seriously.
“From year to date, the Agency has conducted eight special compliance and enforcement exercises throughout the country, including the ongoing Trauma Specialist Hospital in Winneba.

“The Agency is NOT asleep on facilities malfeasance. Patient safety and quality of care are core functions of the Agency”.

The statement added that the 4th Estate requested information on several health facilities, including Frontier Healthcare Laboratories, operating at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at the beginning of COVID-19 and the request included an additional fifty healthcare facilities.

“The information was shared with the 4th Estate when HeFRA had the chance to gather all the data on the requested health facilities, some of which were non-orthodox medical practices such as Herbal clinics, Acupuncture clinics, Eastern-Asia/Chinese Traditional medical clinics, and Naturopathic clinics, across the country.

It said it took a long time to gather data on non-orthodox medical facilities to respond to the request.

“The request was beyond the mandate of HeFRA, which is limited to orthodox medical establishments and It Iwas unfair for HeFRA to conduct such exercises at HeFRA’s expense to enable it to respond to the 4th Estate’s request.

“The Agency explored the avenue for a countersuit against the RTI commission for abuse of discretion.

On non-deserving facilities receiving their licenses, it said , ACT 829, and policy of HeFRA was to grant provisional/temporary licenses to health facilities for a period of time to allow the facilities to address identified issues noted during the inspection phase of the licensing cycle.

“The adverse findings are communicated to the management and proprietors of facilities during the exit interview. The health facilities are monitored during the provisional/temporary license period to ensure that identified deficiencies are corrected before granting of long-term licenses.”

“ Licenses are withdrawn from undeserving health facilities from the authority of the Board of HeFRA”.