LUTH resident doctors unanimous on continuation of strike

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LAGOS – Striking resident doctors   Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on Monday rose from an emergency with a resolve to continue their indefinite boycott of work.

Dr Omojuowolo Olubunmi, the President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LUTH branch, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that were unanimous in the decision to continue the strike.

The indefinite strike has entered the third week and started after an initial three-day warning strike in April.

The doctors are demanding a review of LUTH’s policy on cost of services and the tenure of residency training.

They also want an upgrade of among issues.

“After careful deliberation, we have decided to remain on strike and give the LUTH management 48 hours to try and resolve some of the issues raised,” Olubunmi said.

He said the decision was based on what transpired at the Ministry of Labour and Productivity on Friday between ARD and the LUTH management.

Olubunmi said that Dr Jubril Abdullahi, the national president of the ARD, came to address the house and steer the doctors toward a quick resolution.

According to him, since the onset of the strike LUTH management had taken steps to appease the resident doctors.

“Although we have not received anything official, we are aware that a committee has been set up to review and the pricing of services, especially for minor surgical procedures,” Olubunmi said.

He said that shortage of resident doctors in some departments had also been addressed as the management released a list of doctors for understaffed departments.

Olubunmi, however, stated that on the issue of tenure of residency training, management has yet to meet ARD’s demands and issue new letters.

“We are asking for new letters for all people whose letters do not conform to the August 2013 circular that management signed,” he said.

The ARD president said that while the management had taken steps to address the issue of telecommunication, what had so far been done was still a far cry from their expectation.

He said that a system in which doctors had to share a phone as proposed by the management of the hospital was fraught with challenges.

Olubunmi said that some of the resident doctors were willing to compromise by paying a fraction of the cost of the lines if subsidised by LUTH.

“On the issue of telecommunication, there was no unanimous decision.

“Many proposed that the management should start small and expand over time,” he said.

Olubunmi said that no changes had been observed on the demand for procurement of infrastructure and materials for work.

“We will reconvene on Wednesday after observing the steps taken by management and decide whether to return to work or continue the indefinite strike.

“It is difficult for us to rely on the word of management without a concrete document backing their words.

“In the past, when we returned to work based on their promises, they soon forgot their promises,” he said. (NAN)