Industrial action by doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors, University College Hospital (UCH), on Wednesday, disrupted activities at the hospital, a situation many patients described as unexpected.
The doctors, who embarked on a five-day warning strike, claimed that the hospital’s management demoted its entire members unjustly and grossly underpaid them.
President, ARD, Dr Luqman Ogunjimi, speaking on the warning strike, described the hospital’s action as illegal, stating “this action by the hospital management is deliberate and against industrial harmony.”
According to him, “at our congress, the act of the hospital management was exhaustively deliberated upon and considered to be against the ideal of industrial harmony and at best, a violation of the ideal of any organisation and labour laws.”
He assured that its members had interest of the patients coming to the hospital at heart, and as such retained its services at core sections of the hospital such as the emergency and intensive care units.
The ARD president threatened that the doctors would proceed on indefinite strike in case the hospital management refuses to resolve the gross underpayment.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Temitope Alonge, in a reaction, described the strike as illegal and assured that the strike would not in any way affect the smooth running of the system.
The visibly angry CMD maintained that there was no cause whatsoever for the action of the resident doctors because, according to him, he replied to a letter by the doctors on the same issue.
He insisted that before any strike could be declared; there would have been break-down of dialogue between the two parties and necessary notice given on the declaration of strike, arguing that, in this case, none of such had occurred.
Alonge, declaring that the timing of the strike was wrong in view of the examination going on involving other resident doctors from other West African countries, assured members of public not to exercise worry over the ugly development as necessary mechanisms was in place to ensure no disruption of services.
On the contentious issue, which he admitted had become a recurring decimal in the affairs of teaching hospitals and medical centres owned by the Federal Government across the country, he explained that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had at July this year intervened in the matter on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He recalled that it was at the meeting that the financial implications of the skipping was requested from all the CMDs which he said was submitted within 72 hours.