MEDICAL doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), have vowed to continue the indefinite strike they embarked upon on September 4, 2013.
The doctors urged agents of government to always honour their previous words and agreements to avoid loss of confidence in parties in a conflict. They appealed to the Federal Government to immediately intervene in the matter and save innocent Nigerians from the alleged inefficiency and insensitivity of those currently operating the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) programme, which they said if well operated would be of immense benefit to the nation.
President of ARD, LUTH chapter, Dr. Emeka Iziga Ugwu, told The Guardian yesterday that â€œWe will continue on the indefinite strike which we embarked upon after our ordinary general meeting held on September 4, 2013, until the doctors being owed several months of salaries in the hospital are paid.â€
A visit to LUTH yesterday showed that although the Hospital was open to the public and was still admitting patients, activities have slowed down, there were long queues in most departments because it was only the consultants and nurses that were attending to patients.
Attempts to speak with the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Akin Osibogun, President Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele; and LUTHâ€™s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Hope Nwawolo, were unsuccessful as they refused to pick their calls throughout yesterday.
Ugwu explained: â€œThe association has resolved that none of its members shall return to work until all salary arrears are fully paid. The job of a medical doctor requires utmost concentration and doctors’ are not owed several months of salaries in any part of the world. We appeal to the Federal Government to immediately intervene in this matter and save innocent Nigerians. â€œIt is most unfortunate that the Federal Government would with-hold salaries of hundreds of doctors working in LUTH since May this year just because the people operating the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) policy cannot collaborate with the teaching hospitals efficiently. They kept saying they needed one information or the other every month since the last four months while people being owed and their dependants are suffering.
â€œWe heaved a sigh of relief when an agreement was signed on 23rd July by the NARD President, NMA President, Deputy Director of IPPIS in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity that the salary arrears of these doctors would be paid in August. But characteristically, the government reneged on this agreement. And this has brought these doctors untold hardship.â€
According to him, â€œevery one of these doctors, especially the House Officers, has sad personal experiences that cannot be ignored in a society responsive to the plight of the citizenry. It is disheartening that doctors working round-the-clock in the past four months have still not been paid even after the signed agreements and the explanation given by IPPIS office was that they needed exit date of some of these doctors on temporary employment.â€™-The guardian
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