Doctors strike paralyses services at LUTH, CMD denies shutdown

LUTH-1MEDICAL services at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) have been paralysed following an indefinite strike embarked by resident doctors, which has lasted five weeks.

When The Guardian visited the hospital yesterday, the atmosphere was dull, though other medical workers on ground were seen offering skeletal services.

However, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode said the hospital is open and attending to patients.

Prof. Bode explained: “We have shut down services too often. When they insisted on embarking on this strike, we opposed the decision. As of today we have over 300 patients still on admission. All the essential units such as X-ray, laboratories, labour wards services, and others have started working.

“The emergency wards are open and doctors in all the essential services are working. We want members of the public to know that LUTH is not shut down, we are still rendering services.”

Some patients complained of sluggish attendance by doctors, while others said doctors are still attending to patients depending on the clinic the patient is visiting and based on appointment.

A woman who came with a child to the hospital told The Guardian: “We have been here since morning and just leaving, but the doctors were with us all through.”

Another woman, with a sick child said: “We have been here since the early hours of the morning and up till now, we are yet to receive full attention from the doctor even though they still attended to us. We are just leaving the hospital premises.”

It would be recalled that on Monday, June 29, 2015, the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LUTH chapter, embarked on an indefinite strike action over what they cited as poor working condition in the institution and inability of the hospital management to implement ‘Skipping Structure Allowance’ to their members as directed by the Federal Government.

President of the association, Steven Oluwole, said most of the tertiary hospitals are currently not functioning optimally or not rendering services due to industrial action initiated by resident doctors in the country.

Oluwole said the strike was because of non-payment of skipping adjustment to the salary of doctors in all hospitals where “support staff” were paid such salary adjustment.

He said that government had agreed with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) that such adjustment to salaries in the health services was ridiculous, and issued directives to stop the payments.

The Guardian was denied access to the doctors’ lounge by the security woman on duty. She said, “since there was no appointment or any particular doctor being asked after, I can’t allow you in.”

Going round the wards, most doctors declined making comments while a matron of a ward said she could not give any information without approval from appropriate authorities.

The medical Out Patient Department (OPD) looked deserted when The Guardian visited on Thursday morning.

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