Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) have embarked on a three-day warning strike to protest against what they described as very poor management of the hospital by its administrators, according to sources.
A circular signed by the President of the LUTH Association of Resident Doctors (LUTHARD), Dr. Omojowolo Olubunmi, directed all doctors in the hospital to abandon their duty posts for three days to send a message on their seriousness to the institution’s management.
The circular warned that if the doctors’ demands were not addressed during the period of the warning strike, they would embark on an indefinite strike to force the management to listen and attend to the queries of the LUTHARD members which border mostly on the rapidly declining quality of medical services rendered in the hospital.
At the end of the emergency general meeting of the association held on March 27, they resolved that: “Management is hereby given a seven-day ultimatum to address varied issues, failure of which a three-day warning strike shall be embarked upon. This will be followed by an indefinite strike within 21 days.”
A source in LUTH confirmed that the warning strike was currently ongoing and would definitely be followed by the indefinite strike unless the management took steps to address pertinent issues.
According to the circular, the issues in contention include the doctors’ deep concern “about the recent hike in hospital fees and the new policy stating that patient must pay before surgery even in emergency situation.
“We deem this insensitive to the plight of Nigerians, and management should therefore revisit the decision given its attendant negative effect on the image of the hospital, residency training and above all, the security implication.”
The doctors also called on the management of the hospital to withdraw what they described as the contentious letter of employment given to new residents, which the circular said was full of strange and provocative clauses.
“The most alarming is the issue of the new employment letter orchestrated by LUTH management in total defiance of the directive of the Minister of Health and contrary to all known labour laws. This is coming as a rude shock to us while we are still battling the crippling effect of the refusal of the Chief Medical Director to deduct House Officers capitations for us since last year July,” the circular stated.
The doctors also raised the issue of six months post fellowship, stating that it should be automatic and non-negotiable as practiced in other centres.
They added that the implementation of the rectified Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) should begin immediately.
LUTHARD demanded that “letters of skipping be issued to all residents immediately as directed by the circular from the Federal Ministry of Health,” and frowned at the gross shortage of staff especially the house officers, stressing that the employment list be released without further delay.
The doctors also stated that the way the resident employment list was released was not acceptable.