Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, says there is no going back to the industrial action embarked upon by members.
Dr Nonso Aniagboso, Chairman of the branch disclosed position of the resident doctors in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Tuesday.
Aniagboso said the position was reached at its congress where members unanimously rejected the outcome of its leadership’s engagement with the state government last week.
NAN reports ARD, COOUTH branch on May 13 commenced indefinite industrial strike over alleged poor working conditions.
The chairman said the association would continue with the strike until their demands were met.
He said they might be compelled to report doctors who were hired to act their place noting that it was dangerous to leave patients at the mercy of House Officers when resident doctors were not there.
“On May 17, we met the governor on the industrial strike, our demands included full implementation of Consolidates Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) as against payment of 40 per cent to members, funding of the residency programme for optimal efficiency and support for the association.
“His Excellency empathised with us and expressed commitment to meet the demands but did not address them.
“He said he was ready to implement minimum wage and that we should wait for when Internally Generated Revenue must have improved for him to pay CONMESS.
“At our congress on Monday, we concluded that the state government did not have any offer and that we shall continue with the industrial action for as long as possible, until the demands are met.
“We are prepared for this struggle which primarily is in the best interest of the public,” he said.
Aniagboso said that the association had the mandate of the national body to call out private doctors who were employed by the management of COOUTH to render critical medical services in their place and may invoke that power soon.
He said it was in the interest of the state government and management of the hospital to address the demands of the resident doctors rather than hire private practitioners at exorbitant cost.
He said that ARDs were worried that staff of the mother institution, COOU were getting their pay in full while those in its teaching hospital were being paid 40 per cent of their due.
According to him, this is unfair disparity as we are under the same government.
“In 18 months, our membership dropped from 70 to 45 before it grew to 56 now, the condition of service has made COOUTH a transit point for doctors, they leave as soon as they get better offer from sister institutions.
“The residency programme is just not working because it is not being funded, we have not had consultants in the last three years,” he said.