Patients suffer as Lagos doctors’ strike bites

As the warning strike embarked upon by Lagos State doctors under the umbrella of Medical Guild began yes­terday, many patients who turned up at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospi­tal (LASUTH), Ikeja and the General Hospital in Ikorodu were sent back. Also, majority of the pa­tients, who were denied treatment had to return home without medical attention. Investigations, however, re­vealed that only patients with emergency ailments were seen by doctors in Lagos State hos­pitals.

Doctors in the state Gov­ernment employment declared a three-day warning strike to pressurise the present admin­istration to pay the doctors’ withheld salaries. A patient, Mr. Kayode Ibu­kun, who came for medical treatment said he was sup­posed to see his doctor for check-up yesterday but due to the ongoing strike, he had not been attended to by the doc­tors on ground. He said he suffered a severe arthritis pain, which made sleep impossible all night, hence, his visit to the hospital. “Without the expected treat­ment, I will not sleep again tonight.”

Similarly, Mrs Rosemary Anya, a relative of a patient in one of the wards said: “If the doctors refuse to treat my sister who had surgical ortho­paedic surgery, I will have to take her to a private hospital where she will be attended to as expected.” The doctors were aggrieved over non-payment of some outstanding salaries for May 2012, August and September 2014. The government withheld the salaries because of previ­ous strikes based on its policy of ‘no work no pay’.

Investigations revealed that despite the strike, LASUTH provided medical care for the first 20 patients to arrive the hospital in addition to emer­gency cases that were seen. A visit to LASUTH reveals that the doctors only attended to 20 patients yesterday. The record staff urged patients who could not make the list to turn up early today, saying the first 20 patients would be seen by doctors. Apart from the consultants, who were providing services, investigations revealed that the locums (casual doctors) were also working. Similarly, some of the striking doctors were helping to provide emergency ser­vices only. The warning strike would end at 8a.m. on Satur­day.

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