THE industrial action embarked upon by the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has crippled medical activities in the hospital.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who visited the hospital reported that the emergency ward is empty.
Similarly, the children and maternity wards had few patients as most of the patients had been discharged following the strike.
NAN also observed that some pregnant women who were in the hospital to access antenatal care were stranded as there were no doctors to attend to them.
However, the President of ARD in the hospital, Dr Omorogbe Owen, said that they would continue the strike unless management of the hospital met their demands.
“We are not only demanding our skipping remuneration, we are calling for proper running of the hospital and provision of basic facilities to enable us to care for patients.
“The strike is indefinite and we will only end it when our demands are met,” he said.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Professor Michael Ibadin, had earlier told NAN that the resident doctors embarked on the strike without consultation with management of the hospital.
Ibadin confirmed that the strike was hinged on the non-payment of their skipping remuneration, which was not part of the current budget of the hospital.
Reacting to the strike embarked upon by the resident doctors, a health worker at the hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity said that only few patients were being attended to by consultant doctors at the General Practice Clinic (GPC).
However, the patient said that only patients who arrived at the hospital early enough were attended to by the few consultants.
“The strike is having a negative impact on patients who come to GPC to access treatment.
“Before the strike, patients were attended to by both the resident doctors and consultant doctors at this clinic.
“But since the residents doctors strike commenced some days ago, only few patients are attended to while others go home without treatment,” said the frustrated patient.
Some other patients decried the incessant industrial action at the hospital and called for a proper resolution of the contentious issues by the management.
According to one of the patients, who gave her name as Mrs Destiny Obehi, if doctors in the hospital are not on strike, nurses will be on strike or medical laboratory scientists will be on strike.
“We are tired of the ‘everyday strike’ in this hospital.
“Whenever they want to go on strike, they should always put patients who don’t have enough money to access treatment from private hospitals into consideration.
“The primary duty of any health worker in an hospital setting is to cater for patients and not to worsen their situation because of lack of care,” Obehi said.