- Authorities warn Resident Doctors, says Impending Strike Unnecessary
The Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital branc,h has been advised to desist from embarking on a strike action scheduled for Friday, June 7, 2019.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Olufemi Fasanmade, an associate professor of Medicine and Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, at the institution, LUTH enjoined the threatening body to rather direct its grouse appropriately as most of the items raised as reasons for the proposed strike were beyond management.
ARD had in a communique on Tuesday called on all LUTH resident doctors and house officers to proceed on indefinite strike effective from Friday, 7th June 2019.
The union demands immediate employment of resident doctors and house officers, installation of street lights in all corners of the hospital and payment of all outstanding salaries and arrears to its members as conditions for suspending the action.
The management however faulted the motive behind the proposed action, saying the ARD started the agitation due to administrative queries issued to three of its members.
On the demands made by the doctors, Fasanmade explained: “LUTH does not employ resident doctors and house officers. Each of these cadres is admitted periodically for training, under specific guidelines, rules and regulations. Each person so admitted into training is paid while in the hospital for a specified period while completing their study.
“Each of these programmes operates on a conveyor belt system and the numbers in training vary as some leave and others come in. Admission into each of these training programmes is based on extant approvals from appropriate Government agencies and it is therefore not the call of ARD to dictate when or how trainees are admitted.”
Fasanmade stressed that a batch of new 250 new house officers who will finish their training between September and November, 2019 was admitted between October and December last year, considering that the hospital had 173 of such personnel, June of same year.
“In June 2019, there are presently 189 House Officers on our payroll. LUTH has enough House Officers for the care of about 400 patients on admission. New House Officers will be admitted for training when the time is due and not before then.
“As of today, there are 255 Resident Doctors on LUTH payroll and another 96 Supernumerary Resident doctors, a fair reflection of the general trend in other Teaching Hospitals of comparative size with LUTH. Furthermore, a list of over 180 new Resident Doctors interviewed for admission by the Hospital Management Board is awaiting final approval at the Budget Office in Abuja”, he clarified.
“Admission into a training programme is an administrative matter and not within the purview of any Association to dictate to the Hospital. It takes a process that must be strictly followed and no Association of trainees has a monopoly of wisdom on this,” said the CMAC.
He said employment is generally predicated on ability to pay, in this case, the budget allocated to the Institution by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Any group’s wish-list must necessarily factor-in the budgetary implications of their demands, especially now that government is sensitive to disproportional cost of funding personnel emoluments,” he reasoned.
Similarly, Fasanmade reminded the resident doctors on the fact the it cannot be held liable for salaries considering that individual staff is paid directly from the IPPIS platform directly from Abuja.
He admitted that although there were some irregularities affection certain individuals, rather than castigate the management, LUTH had taken it upon itself to assist those affected to pull through the challenges of stopped salaries.
“These irregularities were gradually removed and such anomalies were corrected in Abuja, not in any Institution, definitely not in LUTH.
“It is therefore pure fabrication on the part of the ARD President, who knows all these, to claim that LUTH owes salaries to resident doctors. For the avoidance of doubt, LUTH owes no salaries to any resident doctor. Rather, IPPS does, as no money was paid to LUTH for any resident doctor’s salary. The fact remains that salaries are computed and paid directly from Abuja through the Federal Ministry of Finance on the IPPS portal,” the physician said.
He assured on continued readiness of the management to assist any of it’s pesonnel having difficulty with the IPPS.
Rather than the mischievous inclusion of street lights as part of its demands, Fasanmade said the ARD was aware that the hospital is embarking on installation of street lights in the community, despite the failure of a corporate firm that initially promised to donate the project.
‘This promised donation however failed to materialise and the institution on its own commenced the phased installation of the first 150 street lights as earlier planned. This included modifying the existing electricity poles and wire circuits. It is a delight to see what has been accomplished thus far,” he explained.
He warned against the antics of causing upheaval within the institution as platform to gain political for political leadership by a minority group within the ranks of the trainees. some individuals in the union.
His advice: “We implore the ARD to tow the path of peace and not disturb or try to disrupt services in LUTH. LUTH is already on the march towards enhanced work ethics, dedication and selfless service to our clients. Only the serious need join this march. It is a privilege to serve in LUTH. It is not a right.”
Warning, he said LUTH presently has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens its survival and the duty to serve humanity in its continue bid to attract investors to assist in bridging several infrastructural gaps in the hospital to which he implored everyone to join hands.
“The modest strides recorded by LUTH in the past few years are due to the cooperation and teamwork of everyone, with few strike actions. We have created an ambience of tranquility and progress. We no longer complain of power failures with the new Independent Power Plant supplying our community with 24/7 power, the first of its kind in any Federal institution nationwide. Our facilities are being rehabilitated after decades of uninterrupted usage and LUTH roads are now well paved, even as several other projects have sprung up to reposition LUTH as the place to go for affordable tertiary care.
“Our Cancer Centre is the best in West Africa. Our X-Ray Department, Kidney Dialysis Unit and Wards are being rebuilt to reposition them for world-class services,” Fasanmade said.
He however reminded aspiring striking workers of the consequences of such action should they insist on embarking on the action; among them is the activation of the no-work, no pay policy of government and also the application of laws applicable on such matters.