21st May, 2012
The Lagos State Government has urged the Nigeria Medical Association to stop spreading falsehood, noting that sacking doctors who irresponsibly abandoned patients in the hospitals had nothing to do with a ploy to “decimate” the medical profession.
In a statement signed by the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, the state government explained that no responsible administration would continue to watch her citizens die in the hospitals after the doctors abandoned them for an illegal strike.
Explaining that while the doctors had the right to declare an industrial dispute through a strike, they also had a duty to serve statutorily stipulated notice on government so that adequate preparations could be made to take care of emergency situations and properly monitor patients on admission.
“The decision of the doctors under the Medical Guild to abandon the hospitals without the notice stipulated by law caught government by surprise and led to many deaths. No responsible government will tolerate that,” the Head of Service said.
According to the statement, the medical doctors would have had to deal with criminal suits from patients for abandoning them without any lawful justification in other climes.
The Head of Service explained that it amounts to cheap blackmail and begging the question to accuse the state government of attempting to decimate the medical profession when indeed the government had invested heavily in human personnel and physical infrastructure in the health sector to globally acknowledged level.
Prince Ogunlewe added that the sacking of the doctors had to do with the need to protect the public service and ensuring that illegalities does not become the order of the day.
He said following the abandonment of their duty posts, government had no choice than to hire new doctors to halt the deaths and sufferings of the people in public hospitals.
Reacting to the allegation that the governor walked out of a meeting meant to find solution to the problem of the sacked doctors, Prince Ogunlewe who said he was present at the meeting, noted that the governor was with them at the meeting for over two hours at the expense of other scheduled state assignments.
According to him, the governor had to go late to another function in Lagos involving the Governor of Edo Sate and also had to keep a delegation from the Federal Government which had earlier inspected the on- going clearance of the Apapa Ports areas waiting.
Prince Ogunlewe explained that the real grouse of the doctors was the refusal of the governor to overrule their employers, the Health Services Commission. “The governor,” Ogunlewe explained, “told the doctors that it would amount to a breach of procedure to overrule the Health Services Commission and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Board by executive fiat.”
“If we are talking about the need to build and respect institutions, then it’s wrong to expect the governor to just over rule an institution like that,” Ogunlewe said,
According to Ogunlewe, “there is an established procedure through which these erring doctors were recruited, queried and sanctioned. The same established procedure has a process for appealing and the best path to a resolution of the situation is for the sacked doctors to seek recourse to the procedure rather than to cheap blackmail or outright misinformation. No amount of name calling or threats will distract the state government from its objective of restoring normalcy to the health sector as a soon as possible”, the Head of Service stated.