UCH Management says resident doctors' strike is reckless

The doctors are demanding that the hospital management should respect agreements reached about outstanding payment of salaries.

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Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole. play

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

(Vanguard)
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The management of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has declared the five-day warning strike by resident doctors in the institution as reckless.

Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, said this while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Ibadan.

The News Agency of  Nigeria (NAN)  reports that the strike was embarked upon by doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), UCH Chapter, on Wednesday morning.

NAN also reports that the doctors are demanding that the hospital management should respect agreements reached over full lateral implementation of skipping and outstanding payment of salary.

The doctors said this followed a reconciliatory meeting set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, and other stakeholders in the health sector.

But Alonge said: “We paid all doctors skipping across board in July due to a surplus we have, but, however, we could not implement the same for September due to insufficient fund and supplementary budget.

“We have been in dialogue with the resident doctors over this and waking up to a strike this morning is very surprising.”

Alonge said that the resident doctors embarked on the strike without giving due notice to the management of the hospital.

“I was in my office till about 10 p.m. yesterday night and did not receive any letter notifying the management of their intention to embark on an industrial action.

“We got to the office this morning and received a letter which was purportedly delivered to my office yesterday night around 9 p.m., the content of which demanded for full payment of September salary.

“The management was given till 8 a.m. this morning to reply, failure to which the resident doctors would embark on a five-day warning strike,” he said.

Alonge said that the action by a group of doctors using ARD as cover was self-serving and illegal.

“This action by the executive of the association is very pathetic and very selective considering that the West African Post-graduate Medical College (WAPMC) examination is currently ongoing in the institution.

“This examination is very critical to the career of resident doctors and about 1,000 resident doctors from UCH and doctors from other West African countries are writing the exam as well,” he said.

He said that the doctors had been made to understand that should anyone boycott the exams involving any of the departments, it would lead to dismissal from the institution.

According to him, security operatives had been deployed to the departments where the examinations were being conducted to prevent any form of intimidation or disruptions.

“I would also like to reassure the good people of this country, especially our patients that UCH is not on strike.

“Our consultants and other members of the medical team are working tirelessly and the hospital remains open,” he said.

Dr Luqman Ogunjimi, the ARD President in the hospital, however, said that the strike was a resolution of an emergency congress held by the association on Tuesday.

According to him, the congress was held over underpayment and illegal removal of due emolument.

“The hospital management underpay us and removed the money of the previous month and called it overpayment without notification.

“The act of the hospital management was exhaustively deliberated upon and considered against the very ideal of industrial harmony and at best a violation of labour laws,” he said.

NAN, however, reports that the clinics in the institution were still open to patients on Wednesday. 

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