22nd November, 2010
Thousands of patients besieged Lagos State hospitals today to get medical attentionÂ 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 heededÂ their demand by agreeing to pay them the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure,Â CONMESS, approved for federal doctors.
In several public hospitals visited today, patients were seen seeking medicalÂ attention to their problems.
At Orile-Agege General Hospital, patients waited to be attended to by doctors. ManyÂ 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 sameÂ as patients queue to be attended to by doctors. The hospital was burstling withÂ activities as nurses and other medical personnel attended to patients.
At Igando General Hospital, patients were observed trickling to the generalÂ department and being attended to by nurses who bring out their cards for onwardÂ movement to the doctors. Sources at the hospital told P.M.NEWS that many patientsÂ were still unaware of the suspension of the strike by the doctors.
Situation at the Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos showed that the doctors have fullyÂ resumed duty but there were few patients.
At the Somolu General Hospital located on Oguntolu Street, patients were seenÂ waiting for the doctors to resume duty as at 7.30 a.m.Â The hospital clerk was busyÂ getting their files ready to be attended to by the doctors.
Patients who turned up at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH,Â Ikeja were still very few as at 8.30 a.m. but the doctors were seen moving aroundÂ the wards to attend to available patients.
A patient, Valentine Solomon told our reporter at Orile-Agege General Hospital thatÂ he was happy that the strike had been called off.
Another patient, Mr. Gideon Oloto expressed joy at the resumption of the doctors andÂ pleaded with state government not to allow them go on strike again. â€œI am here toÂ receive treatment and when I heard that the doctors have called off their strike, IÂ was very happy,â€™â€™ he stated.
According to Mrs. Funmi Adenupe, the resumption of duty by the doctors was a welcomeÂ development. â€œI am happy that a doctor will attend to my baby,â€ she said, while Mr.Â Muhammed Ogabi expressed happiness over the development. He lamented that someÂ people died during the strike and called on government to take the needs of theÂ doctors as a priority.
A civil servant, who craved anonymity lamented that despite the fact that he was aÂ staff, he was not attended to at the Surulere General Hospital when he brought hisÂ child to the hospital during the strike. He expressed happiness that the strike hadÂ been suspended.
At Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Mr. Aliu Odulate, who brought his child to theÂ hospital said the suspension of the strike by the doctors was very good, butÂ regretted that he had to pay heavy medical bill in a private hospital when his wifeÂ gave birth to the baby. He urged the government to take the welfare of doctorsÂ seriously.
At the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Centre, Ebute-Metta, patients were beingÂ attended to by doctors.
A diabetic patient, Mr. Amodu Ajibose said he was attended to by a doctor and wasÂ happy, while Mrs. Adenike Isuapere who brought her son for treatment appealed toÂ government not to allow the doctors to go back on strike again.
The doctors suspended their strike yesterday after a mutual agreement between themÂ and the state government.
Announcing the suspension of the strike yesterday, Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr.Â Ayobode Williams, told newsmen that the strike had been suspended but said the guildÂ would give the state government 72 hours to pay all its withheld salaries andÂ allowances or the doctors would reconvene on Friday to resume the strike.
â€œAfter deliberation, we decided to suspend the 14-week old strike to give way forÂ government to show us their sincerity.Â If within 72 hours the withheld salariesÂ were not paid, congress will hold on Friday but if the salaries are paid, congressÂ will hold in February, 2011 to review the issue of CONMESS.
â€œWorks resume by 8 a.m. tomorrow in all government hospitals.Â We implore LagosiansÂ to visit our health facilities tomorrow,â€ he said.
On whether the state government had agreed to pay them 100 percent of CONMESS,Â Williams was evasive, saying that â€œthere is a good understanding between us andÂ government and by January, the salary review will be paid.
â€œWe have reached an agreement with the government.Â A new understanding has beenÂ reached between us and the government.â€
At the meeting between the government and the doctors on Friday, a consensusÂ agreement was reached between the parties.Â The agreement was signed by the LagosÂ State Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe.
In the agreement, it was agreed that by January 2011, government will implement aÂ mutually agreed wage review for the doctors and that government had significantlyÂ reviewed the case of the sacked former Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr. Ibrahim OlaifaÂ and would reverse his sack.
â€”Kazeem Ugbodaga, Paul Sanusi & Adesina Ayodeji