Hospitals discharge patients as doctors’ strike enters day 2

Posted by News Express | 3 August 2021 | 1,008 times

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Concerned family members have begun evacuating their loved ones from government-owned hospitals as the industrial action declared by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) enters its second day.

National President of NARD, Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, announced the strike during the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Umuahia on Sunday.

He said the strike followed the expiration of the 113 days ultimatum issued to states and the federal governments to address welfare, training and service delivery issues to members.

It was tales of anguish and tears in all the hospitals visited by our correspondents yesterday morning, barely 10 hours after the medics turned their backs on their patience.Normal activities were reduced as some patients were turned back. The few consultant physicians on duty could not fill in for the jobs of the resident doctors as their capacity was restricted.

Some patients expressed regret at the situation and appealed to government to expedite action toward finding a lasting solution to the perennial strike by doctors all the time. A nurse said patients who were on admission were asked to pay their bills and go home or seek care elsewhere

The Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, Ogun State, last night had started discharging patients on admission. A nurse said patients who were on admission were asked to pay their bills and go home or seek care elsewhere.

NARD Chairman at the centre, Dr Busuyi Adebiyi, said the strike was a directive from the national body, hence all affiliates must join.

“Until a counter directive is received, the strike goes on. It’s a nationwide strike; all affiliates are expected to join, so doctors at the Federal Medical Centre are not working.”

Similarly, doctors at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) branch also stood in solidarity with the call by the national body to press home their demands.

In a Communiqué, the association accused governments of insincerity on the issues affecting the welfare of members. It observed that government was reluctant in implementing the memorandum of action after 113 days, saying “the NEC unanimously resolved by vote to resume the total and indefinite strike from 08.00hrs of August 2”.

Dr Habeeb Badmus, president of ARD-UITH,  stated that part of their demand was the delay by the Federal Government in disbursing the Medical Residency Training Funds.

“The association also decry the undue hardship members on Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform face, due to the delays in payment of their salaries ranging from three to seven months.”

He explained that the industrial action was to ensure smooth running of the health sector, adding that they can only serve efficiently and effectively when members welfare are given the desired attention.

At the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku Ozalla and the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUT-TH), Parklane Enugu, patients were seen complaining and waiting for doctors endlessly even after paying for doctors’ consultation fee while relatively healthy ones were being discharged in their numbers to go home.

Daily Sun observed that there were few Consultants and House Officers attending to the large number of patients already admitted at the hospital before yesterday.

On the development, President, ARD ESUT-TH, Parklane Chapter, Emmanuel Edoga, said the association in the state-owned teaching hospital had fully mobilised and joined the ongoing strike.

“We have down tooled as directed and what we did early this morning is to stabilize patients previously under our care and discharge some of them fit to be out-patient.

“However, we still have our senior doctors, the consultants, as well as House Officers still attending to patients and holding sway until we resolve the current impasse with the Federal and state governments.”

Edoga noted that they would also review the situation after 72 hours and hoped that the authorities would do the needful.

Meanwhile, patients and relations were furious in complaining of the man-hour they wasted waiting to be attended to in vain. One of them, Mrs. Juliet Onyia, who brought her baby to children ward, claimed she had waited for over four hours. They knew about this, they should not have collected the doctor’s consultancy fee of N500 from me since they are not working. Nobody deemed it fit to inform me earlier about the development for me to take my child to another hospital. This situation is unfortunate.”

A patient at the surgical ward, Mr Emma Onuh, said he was not aware of the strike

“I came all the way from my village in Eke community, Udi Local Government.”

The situation was same at the UNTH, as according to a resident doctor who spoke to Daily Sun, “We have joined the strike. It is the Consultants and House Officers that you will see in the hospital. We are bound by the decisions of the national body of our association. 

At the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) branch, NARD president, Ifeanyi Ufuani, said said compliance was 100 percent.

He explained that it is only the association of resident doctors that is on strike.

“The hospital has other cadres of doctors such as consultants, and they are working. However, we make about 80 percent of the workforce. 

“Everybody believes and knows this is what we are fighting for because they are things that affect us and that is why we had compliance. We are affected and suffering, and this is the only way because negotiations have failed that is why everyone is complying.

“We have had 100 percent compliance in UBTH, the consultants are still on ground while resident doctors are not offering services until the strike is called of”, he said.

Commenting on the industrial action, Chairman of the Edo State Hospital Management Board, Osayande Edorisiagbon, said despite delivering healthcare services to patients, they are in full support of the action until the government grants the demands of the striking doctors.

“It is unfortunate we are not part of the strike because sometime ago we had some issues with the National body but that is not to say we are not in support of the action.”

Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Edo State chapter, Harrison Omokhua, said the strike is germane and a lot of persons have been mobilised to ensure full compliance.

He assured that they would sustain the compliance level until the federal government decides to answer the striking doctors.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi branch, doctors turned their backs on patients as early as 8am after being briefed to comply with the union’s directives.

NAUTH’s president, Golibe Ikpeze, said the striking doctors had already left clinical services in the hands of the consultants and others who were not members of the NARD. He explained that the patients were briefed about the development with the assurance that the consultants were still on ground.

“As members of the NARD, we ensure 100 percent compliance to the strike which was the resolution we had after a meeting in Umuahia, Abia State. None of us would go against that. Doctors are still in the hospital who are not our members. Our members counselled the patients on what is happening and we handed over the care to consultants.”   

But Acting Chief Medical Director of the NAUTH, Dr Joseph Ugboaja, assured that the hospital would continue to do its best to ensure patients were taken care. He also assured that the Consultants and other health workers would be doing their job as the issues were resolved. He told the patients not to panic as the hospital would not relent in its efforts to care for them.

This is as patients at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, Delta State, appealed to doctors to call off their strike.

The frustrated patients and their relatives also appealed to government to meet the demands of the doctors.

Some in-patients and out-patients who spoke said they were already feeling the negative impact of the strike which has crippled activities at the hospital.

NMA seeks withdrawal of controversial circular on doctors’ scheme of service

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said it was actively involved in ensuring that removal of House Officers and NYSC doctors from scheme of service does not lead to crisis in Lagos State health sector.

Dr. Adetunji Adenekan, NMA Chairman, Lagos Zone, gave the assurance at a media briefing yesterday.

Adenekan said NMA through the Medical Guild, had been liaising with government on withdrawing the crisis-prone circular released by the Head of Service.

He said that the National Council on Establishment (NCE) released a policy document for the removal of House Officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service, labelling them as students.

“It is important to clarify that medical/dental interns are graduates and very essential frontlines that render indispensable services in Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) approved hospitals, albeit under supervision.

“Also, NYSC doctors are full-fledged medical/dental practitioners and fully registered by MDCN,” he said.

According to him, there is a scheduled tripartite meeting involving Head of Service of the Federation, National NMA and MDCN, aimed at resolving irregularities in the circular.

“Unfortunately, only Lagos State Government hastily commenced its implementation out of all the 36 states and FCT, even the Federal Government is yet to.

“The NMA Lagos condemns, in totality, the hasty posture of the Lagos State Government toward the implementation of the circular as this may only culminate in crisis,” he said.

Adenekan appealed to the state government to withdraw the circular to further strengthen the current harmonious relationship between the association and the state.

He said it was obvious that huge gap exist in the understanding of medicolegal aspect of medical practice across board, in spite of all efforts to ensure justice and fairness for all parties when necessary.

The NMA chairman said that the association’s Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference would provide the platform to address the issue. (Daily Sun)


Source: News Express

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