Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Lagos Doctors In Warning Strike

Activities in Lagos General Hospitals will be paralysed tomorrow as doctors in public hospitals begin a three-day warning strike to demand for the implementation of the agreement they reached with the Lagos State Government last year.

However, eminent Lagosians and human rights activists have appealed to the doctors to shelve the strike and embrace dialogue so that patients in the state’s hospitals would not bear the brunt.

The doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild, said the state government had failed to implement a downward review of excessive taxation and the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale Structure, CONMESS, approved for them by the Federal Government last year, saying that the warning strike would end on Friday.

The doctors rose from its congress and decided to embark on the strike, after which they would embark on total strike by the end of this month, saying that they could no longer bear government’s insensitivity.

Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote said the doctors had held several meetings with the government on the issue and that nothing had been done about it since the last one year.

Prominent Lagosians, including monarchs, political leaders and clerics yesterday pleaded with resident doctors in Lagos State to shelve their strike in the interest of stakeholders in the health sector.

Human right groups condemned the planned industrial action, saying that it is in bad faith, unpatriotic and unfortunate.

Humanity Services Project, HSP, led by Comrade Linus Okoroji, berated the doctors for a shortfall in sensitivity, wondering why medical practitioners were embarking on strike based an ongoing agreement with the government.

He also revisited the on-going debate on true federalism, claiming that it was illogical for state doctors to use the condition of service of doctors in the Federal Civil Service as the yardstick for agitations for welfare at the state level.

On its part, the Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate, CPPM, asked the aggrieved doctors to embrace dialogue in the interest of industrial peace in the state.

Its Executive Chairman, Mr. Nelson Ekujumi, said: “It is the grass that suffers. The common man cannot afford the services of private doctors. That is why we are calling on the doctors to shelve the strike and embrace dialogue”.
Okoroji, in a statement, said: “The Governing Board of Humanity Services Project (HSP) condemns the contemplated warning and incessant strike actions by Lagos State Doctors. HSP is alarmed about the news that the Lagos State doctors are spoiling to embark on a warning strike from Wednesday, April 11, 2012, just two days after the Easter break. This is very insensitive, unfortunate and condemnable”.

He said the group is also sad that “the contemplated action is an agitation against unimplemented agreement with Lagos State Government”.

Okoroji added: “We have restrained ourselves from issuing statements on previous strikes by Lagos State doctors. HSP is most disturbed that the agitations by doctors all the time are based on their selfish and personal interests, which is limited to conditions of service.

“HSP agrees that doctors, whose profession play a very vital role in saving human life, should be properly remunerated. But, it is unfair when doctors whose responsibilities revolve around saving of lives, take undue advantage of their most essential responsibility to impede government and society. Lagos State doctors are among the best remunerated among their contemporaries throughout Nigeria.

“HSP will like to draw attention of the Lagos State doctors to the real fact that, those who will be adversely affected by any strike whatsoever are the poor Lagosians. Is it fair to punish the people who are already in agony?

“We condemn in its entirety the contemplated strike by the doctors. It is important for the doctors to note that their services and responsibility to humanity are very essential, critical and anointed by God.”

According to him, “they must not under any guise jeopardise people’s access to their services. This must be against their professional ethics. They must look for other civilised means to resolve their differences with the government without jeopardising people’s access to their services. It should not be heard that doctors, who essentially must save life after God, should go on strike.”

—Kazeem Ugbodaga


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