Doctors charged on right attitude to patients

Following lack of compassion and the unfeeling way the hospital workers treat patients, Nigerian doctors have been reminded that knowledge and hard work are inconsequential when they lack the right attitude to work.

Dr Gboyega Ajayi gave the charge in the 2016 Convocation Lecture he delivered at the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in Lagos entitled” What kind of Doctor are You”in Lagos.

Ajayi, a consultant ophthalmologist and Chief Medical Director, Eleta Eye Institute, Ibadan, stated that more emphasis needs to be placed on right attitude and the need to treat patients with compassion and love.

According to him, “whereas, knowledge and hard work are important, they are inconsequential when the doctor does not have the right attitude to work.

“Mathematically it is proven that hard work and knowledge would not give 100 per cent, but attitude does and the love of God which is expressed through a show of compassion and love. Compassion is a combination of indisputably good qualities, along with an impulse to help other human beings.”

Ajayi decried strike in the health sector, saying that it had caused more problems than good, declaring that strike action is a wrong strategy and against the Hippocratic Oath they had taken as physicians.

According to him,”consequently, doctors have lost the confidence and respect of the patients we are fighting for. I believe that’s the unspoken but powerful reason our leadership of the health team is being questioned.

“People die. Many incapacitated; equipment damaged and training programmes are disrupted. Not often assessed is the loss of competency of all categories of hospital workers because of lack of stimulation and infrequent use of skills, especially those recently acquired?

“We have sworn to preserve not to destroy life. Strikes maim and kill our patients, kill our initiatives, dull our intellect and skills and make our patients who should be our allies our foes.”

He declared that doctors must learn the art of communication and lobbying as well as how to win friends and influence their patients who define the policies and allocate the resources that determine if they will be able to practise their profession or not.

Ajayi, however, stated that Nigeria’s increasing population and the rapidly declining national income, had remained a challenge to the health sector.

In solving the challenge, he said this would necessitate doctors knowing that problems in the health sector require developing strong Pubic Private Partnerships, restructuring of the health profession and training programmes directed towards the needs of the health needs of the society.

According to him, “we must adopt a pragmatic and innovative approach to finding solutions to our basic health challenges if necessary dispensing with the path chosen by the developed countries whose problems and priorities are clearly different from ours.”