Patients Besiege Lagos Hospitals, As Doctors Resume


Thousands of patients besieged Lagos State hospitals today to get medical attention  as doctors resume duty following the suspension of their 14-week old strike.

The doctors called off the strike yesterday after the Lagos State Government heeded  their demand by agreeing to pay them the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure,  CONMESS, approved for federal doctors.

In several public hospitals visited today, patients were seen seeking medical  attention to their problems.

At Orile-Agege General Hospital, patients waited to be attended to by doctors. Many  of them expressed happiness that the 14-week old strike had finally been suspended.

When P.M.NEWS visited the Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, the situation was the same  as patients queue to be attended to by doctors. The hospital was burstling with  activities as nurses and other medical personnel attended to patients.

At Igando General Hospital, patients were observed trickling to the general  department and being attended to by nurses who bring out their cards for onward  movement to the doctors. Sources at the hospital told P.M.NEWS that many patients  were still unaware of the suspension of the strike by the doctors.

Situation at the Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos showed that the doctors have fully  resumed duty but there were few patients.

At the Somolu General Hospital located on Oguntolu Street, patients were seen  waiting for the doctors to resume duty as at 7.30 a.m.  The hospital clerk was busy  getting their files ready to be attended to by the doctors.

Patients who turned up at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH,  Ikeja were still very few as at 8.30 a.m. but the doctors were seen moving around  the wards to attend to available patients.

A patient, Valentine Solomon told our reporter at Orile-Agege General Hospital that  he was happy that the strike had been called off.

Another patient, Mr. Gideon Oloto expressed joy at the resumption of the doctors and  pleaded with state government not to allow them go on strike again. “I am here to  receive treatment and when I heard that the doctors have called off their strike, I  was very happy,’’ he stated.

According to Mrs. Funmi Adenupe, the resumption of duty by the doctors was a welcome  development. “I am happy that a doctor will attend to my baby,” she said, while Mr.  Muhammed Ogabi expressed happiness over the development. He lamented that some  people died during the strike and called on government to take the needs of the  doctors as a priority.

A civil servant, who craved anonymity lamented that despite the fact that he was a  staff, he was not attended to at the Surulere General Hospital when he brought his  child to the hospital during the strike. He expressed happiness that the strike had  been suspended.

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At Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Mr. Aliu Odulate, who brought his child to the  hospital said the suspension of the strike by the doctors was very good, but  regretted that he had to pay heavy medical bill in a private hospital when his wife  gave birth to the baby. He urged the government to take the welfare of doctors  seriously.

At the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Centre, Ebute-Metta, patients were being  attended to by doctors.

A diabetic patient, Mr. Amodu Ajibose said he was attended to by a doctor and was  happy, while Mrs. Adenike Isuapere who brought her son for treatment appealed to  government not to allow the doctors to go back on strike again.

The doctors suspended their strike yesterday after a mutual agreement between them  and the state government.

Announcing the suspension of the strike yesterday, Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr.  Ayobode Williams, told newsmen that the strike had been suspended but said the guild  would give the state government 72 hours to pay all its withheld salaries and  allowances or the doctors would reconvene on Friday to resume the strike.

“After deliberation, we decided to suspend the 14-week old strike to give way for  government to show us their sincerity.  If within 72 hours the withheld salaries  were not paid, congress will hold on Friday but if the salaries are paid, congress  will hold in February, 2011 to review the issue of CONMESS.

“Works resume by 8 a.m. tomorrow in all government hospitals.  We implore Lagosians  to visit our health facilities tomorrow,” he said.

On whether the state government had agreed to pay them 100 percent of CONMESS,  Williams was evasive, saying that “there is a good understanding between us and  government and by January, the salary review will be paid.

“We have reached an agreement with the government.  A new understanding has been  reached between us and the government.”

At the meeting between the government and the doctors on Friday, a consensus  agreement was reached between the parties.  The agreement was signed by the Lagos  State Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe.

In the agreement, it was agreed that by January 2011, government will implement a  mutually agreed wage review for the doctors and that government had significantly  reviewed the case of the sacked former Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa  and would reverse his sack.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga, Paul Sanusi & Adesina Ayodeji

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