Patients, who had booked appointments at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, were stranded on Tuesday as resident doctors continued their three-day warning strike.
When our correspondent visited the hospital, many patients were seen waiting to be attended to. At the dental clinic, some of the patients told our correspondent that they were not aware of the ongoing strike. From the General Out-Patient Department to other clinics, the patients were given new dates for their appointments as many of the consulting rooms were empty.
At the Urology Clinic, a long queue of patients was seen and most of them were elderly people. One of them, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, appealed to the Lagos State Government to meet the demands of the resident doctors and spare the sick unnecessary suffering.
Another patient said, “I have a problem with my tooth. I came here two months ago and I was told to come back today (Tuesday). Now I hear that the doctors are on strike. I am still waiting and hoping that I will be attended to. The toothache is becoming too much for me to bear.”
The resident doctors had threatened to embark on a three-day warning strike as a result of the state government’s failure to employ enough house officers and residents doctors at the hospital.
The President, Association of Resident Doctors, LASUTH, Dr Fatai Balogun, said the union had exhausted all available means of communication and advocacy with the hospital management and the government with no result.
“This crisis has been a recurrent event over the past years without any structured policy put in place to ensure the seamless replacement of exiting doctors, thereby creating loopholes in the provision of optimal clinical service delivery,” Balogun said. Also, the Chairman, Medical Guild, LASUTH, Dr Babajide Saheed, in an interview with our correspondent, blamed the strike on the state government.
He said, “The resident doctors have done what they are supposed to do. We have had several meetings with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Head of Service and the management of LASUTH and nothing has happened. In order to remove this problem, the issue of exit and the employment of health workers should be tackled at the level of the HoS. Replacing doctors that have left the service of the state government will not increase the budgetary allocation.
“We are appealing to the government to solve this problem permanently. The resident doctors and the house officers are the only ones on strike. Unfortunately, they are the backbone of this teaching hospital. There is little that the consultants can do without the resident doctors and the house officers.” Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Titilayo Gonzalez, said steps were being taken to recruit new resident doctors for the hospital.
“Steps are being taken to recruit new residents and to reduce their workload. We know they are not machines. We understand their issues and we are working hard to address them,” Gonzalez said.
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