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Patients Groan as Resident Doctors Begin Strike in LUTH
Date Posted: 04/Dec/2018
• CMD explains shortage of bed spaces in hospital
• Says salary shortfall due to change of payment platform
• Medical personnel protest at UNTH over alleged abuse in salary
 
Some patients and relatives were left stranded yesterday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, as resident doctors’ strike entered its seventh day.
 
The doctors, under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LUTH Chapter, had last week Wednesday, November 28, 2018, embarked on an indefinite strike to protest non-payment of three months salary.Although some doctors, especially consultants and trainee doctors, were seen offering skeletal services at LUTH when The Guardian visited yesterday, some were turned back because of lack of bed spaces for admission and the vacuum created by the striking resident doctors.
 
“We just brought our landlord here who is in a comma but were turned back because of lack of bed space. They said unless we have to wait until another patient is discharged from the ward. But he is in a critical condition, so, we have to go,” a relative told The Guardian.President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Segun Olaopa, yesterday told The Guardian: “I urge the relevant authorities to pay the doctors their entitlements so that they can go back to work. The strike is an indefinite one. The doctors can only go back to work when they are paid.”
 
Also, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, told The Guardian yesterday: “We are doing everything possible to make sure that the doctors are paid. Some of us are at Abuja as we speak inter-phasing with the ministries of finance, health and budget office to make that possible. The shortfall in salaries is because of change in the payment platform. This will be resolved soon. I urge the doctors to be patient with us. I must also commend the doctors who have been working to save patients’ lives.
 
“We are dealing with a situation where Ward B with 120 bed spaces is under renovation. This means that we have technically lost 120 bed spaces. However, this is unconnected with the strike but we are working very hard to make sure that the Ward B is be ready before the end of the year.”
 
Meanwhile, sources at LUTH blamed the problem on “a shortfall in 2018 personnel budget on the GIFMIS platform,” which uploaded N4.867 billion personnel budget to the hospital as against budget submission of N7,592 billion. The hospital is now in a dilemma on how to find N2,724 billion shortfall to meet its wage bill for the rest of the year.Officials at the Budget Office in Abuja claimed: “There is no cash backing for this payment because budgetary allocation for LUTH has been exhausted.”
 
Also, a top management official at LUTH, who declined to be quoted, had told The Guardian: “There is unnecessary tension within the hospital as all doctors are threatening to go on strike.” In a related vein, resident doctors in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu State, yesterday protested alleged management abuse of their salaries and entitlements.
 
They alleged that the finance department of the teaching hospital had shortchanged them for a long time and called for the resignation of the deputy director of finance in the institution.But in a swift response, however, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah, faulted the doctors’ protest, saying they didn’t have evidence of their claims.
 
Chairman of the ARD in the hospital, Dr. Isaiah Nwideny, said: “We have been shortchanged for quite a long time. We are no longer treated as resident doctors. What is due for us has been taken away from us. We don’t know how much our salary is.”
 
By: Chukwuma Muanya, Stanley Akpunonu (Lagos) and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)
The Guardian News

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