LUTH resident doctors begin indefinite strike

Doctor copyTHE Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Chapter, yesterday commenced an indefinite strike over their working conditions at the hospital.

The President of the association, Dr. Ramon Moronkola, said this was sequel to a 21-day ultimatum and three-day warning strike, which ended on Wednesday, June 17.

Moronkola, who spoke at a rally/press conference organised by the ARD at the hospital yesterday in Lagos, said the association was compelled to embark on the strike after several appeals to the management of the institution yielded no positive response.

He said: “The purpose of the strike is not to punish the patients, but to press home some legitimate demands.

“Consultants and some health workers are still attending to patients, but we, as an association, need to send out a message because we are tired of giving haphazard services to the public.

“Some individuals are running this institution any how they like; they would not do this were it to be their private practices.

“We have bent backwards severally to ensure that we continue service delivery, however, when the person at the helm of affairs thinks that we are wasting our time, then the public should task them.

“We are demanding for good working conditions which include making the environment conducive, as well as the implementation of the ‘skipping’ structure as directed by the Federal Government.”

According to him, there have been several instances where doctors have been harassed by patients’ relatives for non-delivery or delayed delivery of some services without knowing it is an institutional problem.

“Doctors have been stagnated for years; and on the skipping, since the 2013 directives by the Federal Government, the management of LUTH has refused to obey.

“I am calling on the government to look into the situation in the hospital. They should come and investigate; we cannot allow a public institution like this to be at the mercy of just some individuals; and in places where there are industrial disharmony, questions should be asked.

“There is no constant water supply in LUTH; this is dangerous because diseases, especially communicable ones, can further spread from both patients and doctors.

“The light situation is epileptic and the wards are in a sorry state; these need to be addressed urgently”, Moronkola further said.

A resident doctor, Dr. Ayodele Renner, said: “If we continue to keep quiet, LUTH will further degenerate to perhaps just a consulting institution.

“There is a serious challenge in LUTH and we want the public and Federal Government to step in as LUTH needs to be restructured.

“There is a great unavailability of consumables and a lot of times, we are not able to do investigations here, so they are outsourced.

“Doctors have had to buy consumables and writing materials on several occasions; drip stands are not even available.

“The clearing process is also ridiculously long as people can be on the queue for as long as four hours to get a payment done.”

Renner, who said that the ‘skipping’ as approved by the Federal Government had not been paid to resident doctors, expressed concern that after the 21-day ultimatum and three-day warning strike, the management was yet to do anything to bridge the situation.

Similarly, Dr. Folasade Ewedemi, one of the members, said: “It is important that the working conditions be improved in addition to the compliance of the `’skipping’.

“In LUTH, so many facilities are no longer functional and we need to cry out now before it further degenerates.

“The recording and filing system is poor, the CT scan machine is not functional and even bottles for investigations are not available.

“Patients have to travel out of LUTH to get these done and one can begin to imagine the risks involved.”

In his reaction, LUTH’s Acting Chief Medical Director, Prof. Chris Bode, said every industrial action had its pros and cons.

He, however, noted that strikes were not the best ways to resolve challenges, especially when they had become incessant
According to him, the management met and pleaded with the association many times to show understanding on their demands.

He, therefore, appealed to the resident doctors to be patient, as the new administration would sort out many issues once they are fully settled.

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