Succour for patients as resident doctors, health workers end warning strike

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YENAGOA – Patients who patronise the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Yenagoa have heaved a sigh of relief as resident doctors and other health workers ended a three-day warning strike.

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at the hospital had gone on strike in compliance with a directive from its national body.

Dr Ugoeze Asinobi, NARD President at FMC, Yenagoa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on that members of the association returned to their duty posts on Thursday.

Asinobi also said that other health workers, the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions at the hospital had ended the three-day warning strike to demand for payment of outstanding promotion arrears.

The strike by the resident doctors and allied health professionals had paralysed health delivery services with the hospital’s out-patients department shut down from Monday through Wednesday.

A NAN correspondent who visited the hospital on Friday reports that services have been restored but the high traffic associated with the hospital was not there.

At the physiotherapy department health workers who for duty said that turnout of patients was low.

Nurses at the Out-Patients Department (OPD) said that few patients showed up to see doctors at the section that used to be a beehive of activities.

A patient, Maxwell Ebi, told NAN that the low turnout may be traceable to lack of awareness that the strike was a three-day warning strike.

“Some may not be aware that the strike is for three days.

“Most people who came on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were disappointed and will want to be sure that work has resumed before coming again.

“Some people with serious cases may have resorted to private clinics,” Ebi said.

Mr Simon Barnabas, Coordinator of the Joint Health Sector Unions at FMC, Yenagoa, told NAN that the various unions would meet to appraise the situation and strategise on the next step.

According to him, the three-day warning strike was a huge as workers complied to the letter.

He said that they were still awaiting an invitation from the hospital’s management.

“They have not called us for talks, what they told us previously was that there is no money to meet our demands and since the strike began on Monday up till today,” Barnabas said.

When NAN visited the of the Chief Medical Director, he was said to be unavailable.

The Head of Clinical Services was also said to have travelled out of the country. (NAN)