Health  

LUTH management declares doctors’ strike illegal

 Prof. Chris Bode

Prof. Chris Bode

The management of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi–Araba, Lagos, has declared the indefinite strike action by resident doctors of the hospital as illegal.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD), LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, told The Guardian that the action by “a group of our trainees, using the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD)” as cover, “is not recognised by LUTH authorities as it contravenes extant laws.”Bode said: “Doctors render essential services and thus cannot go on strike without following due process,” he said.

Meanwhile, activities at the teaching hospital have since been at its lowest ebb, with very few patients were seen around when our correspondent visited.

It was gathered that, patients were still being attended to at some clinics, while others were cited lying on benches in front of clinics waiting to be seen by doctors.

The strike, which commenced on Friday, March 11, was to press home their demands that are not unconnected with welfare.The association’s president, Dr. Akinkumi Afolabi in a statement explained that the strike is to protest the challenges faced by the association members, which includes poor working conditions, epileptic power and water supply, discriminatory taxation of members, non-payment of one to four months salaries, poor state of call rooms, unavailability of medical consumables, among others.

Afolabi noted that, “Epileptic power supply has lead to cancellation of surgeries and procedures to the detriment of patients and extreme discomfort to doctors and patients during consultation.”

Meanwhile, Bode while reacting said, “none of their demands is new as LUTH Management had called severally for patience while relevant government agencies conclude ongoing arrangements and consultations to effect payment of 2015 December salary.”

According to the CMD, “January and February 2016 salaries have been paid and outstanding December 2015 salary delay was because of shortfall experienced in a number of other institutions such as UCH and Benin.”

Bode further noted that, “skipping allowance, as mentioned in earlier publications, is a payment government had earlier promised to pay when there is monetary provision for it. We cannot compel Government in these lean times to pay what has not been budgeted for,” he added.

On the issue of epileptic power supply, he reacted saying, “It is to the credit of LUTH management that adequate power supply has been maintained at all our service points in spite of the unusually low supply from public utilities.”

“And our operation theatres, labour ward, ICU, outpatient services, wards and other critical service points have remained active in the past several weeks, using dedicated generators at huge fuel costs and with the need to periodically rest the over-flogged generator sets,” Bode expressed.

However, Afolabi in an interaction with our correspondent, said that the strike would continue until their needs are met, “members are in high spirit as we expect some of our demands to be met, as promised by management in a written commitment on Saturday.”

At the Family Medicine Department of the hospital, many patients were seen on queues with just few consultants attending to them, as some relatives of patients complained of unavailability of bed at the Accident and Emergency Unit.

A relative who pleaded anonymous said: “My mother was referred to the Accident and Emergency Unit last week before the strike started, but they said no bed, so we are back today because she cannot breathe well.”

The Guardian observed a lot of patients at the Electrocardiogram (ECG) department and Direct Observation Therapy (DOT) centre, with few consultants on duty.

Bode, while commending Consultants, Supernumerary residents, regular resident doctors, House Officers and Medical Officers for working tirelessly to keep the Hospital open, he appealed to aggrieved residents to sheath their swords and join in the process of building a better tomorrow.



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