THE Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, has called for timely, appropriate replacement and employment of more psychiatric doctors to meet the health needs of the society.
Its President, Dr Afeez Enifeni, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that many people with mental health challenges would suffer if more psychiatric doctors were not employed.
NAN reports that doctors at the hospital had on July 31 embarked on an indefinite strike over non-employment of more psychiatric resident doctors at the hospital.
Enifeni, commenting on the ongoing strike in the hospital, said: “The reason we are on strike is that we have been on the issue of employment of more psychiatric doctors since 2018.
“We have written letters and had meetings with members of the top management committee and Governing Board of the hospital.
“Now, over 40 doctors have left the hospital between 2014 and till date, and between 2014 and 2018, only 15 had been employed; since then, there has not been the employment of more psychiatric resident doctors.
“We want the management to do things timely, especially as we have been letting them know about the situation for a long time,“ he said.
Enifeni also urged the Federal Government to remove or reduce the bureaucracies involved in the employment of the psychiatric resident doctors.
According to him, the services rendered by the psychiatric doctors are essential, and therefore, the bureaucracies need to be fast-tracked so that it will not affect the smooth running of the hospital.
“In the health sector, a new process has to be put in place to ensure that the bureaucracies do not hinder the smooth and efficient running of the sector,“ the association president said.
He said that the 535 bedded hospital was currently being run by only about 23 consultants and 33 resident doctors, who according to him, are the engine room of the hospital.
Enifeni said that available doctors were being over-worked, as it could have serious consequences on their health, adding many of them could no longer pay attention to their academic activities.
“These have consequences which include patients delay, long hours of reviewing patients at the wards, thereby increasing their stay at the hospital, and owing to the system, because many of our clients pay out-of-pocket.
“The hospital has to replace the doctors as soon as they are leaving the system; have yearly employments so that you can have different levels of experience across the board.
“By not employing more doctors will affect the efficient and effective running of the hospital,“ Enifeni said.
Commenting on the doctors’ strike, Mrs Philomena Omoike, the Public Relations Officer of the hospital, said that the management had filed necessary documents to the appropriate authority to get approval for recruitment of new doctors.
Omoike said that the management had held a meeting with leaders of the association to plead with the doctors to suspend their strike and give the management time to sort out the issue.
“The process of recruitment is not automatic; we have to get approval, and we have been on this,“ she said.