When will our tertiary hospitals render uninterrupted services for at least one year? Currently, medical services are incessantly interrupted liberally, if it is not a national
strike, it will be an internal strike.
Activities in some tertiary hospitals have been paralysed for more than two months because of the refusal of the managements of those tertiary hospices to implement the skipping and payment of relativity to doctors in their respective hospitals.
The confusing aspect of the whole story is that the managements of some tertiary hospitals have fully implemented the skipping and payment of relativity to doctors while others are still adamant in implementing the exercise for God-knows reason(s).
One of such hospitals where doctors under the umbrella of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) have withdrawn their services is my Alma mata, the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Itukku Ozalla. Below is the recent communique released by the association:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF EMERGENCY CONGRESS MEETING OF ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS (ARD), UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA TEACHING HOSPITAL (UNTH), WHICH HELD ON FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2015 AT THE DOCTORS COMMON ROOM, UNTH ITUKU OZALLA ENUGU STATE.
The Association of Resident Doctors, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital held an emergency Congress on Friday 11 September, 2015 to update members on the recent events and chat a way forward, in keeping with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed after a meeting between the UNTH Management and representatives of ARD UNTH recently.
1) Members discussed critically, the MoU reached at the end of the meeting between the UNTH management and representatives of ARD UNTH and observed as follows:
i) That the current stand of UNTH management that they do not have resources to pay skipping is the fourth stand they are taking on the issue and this does not represent uprightness.
ii) That members of ARD UNTH who went to see the DDF UNTH were denied access to the warrant of pay of UNTH which should have shown details of how personnel cost of UNTH has been utilized so far, rather they were restricted to the 2015 personnel budget proposal and summaries of GIFMIS payments. This clearly does not satisfy our demands that account books be opened to ascertain the claim by management.
iii) That despite a letter written and submitted on 25th August, 2015, a day after the meeting with CMD, concerning the salary of house officers and other arrears as advised, salaries were paid over 2weeks later without any form of implementation.
iv) That despite the heartbreaking delay in paying the 2014 teaching allowance arrears to registrars, advancement arrears to deserving members with some lasting as long 3 years, 2 months relativity arrears to our numerous deserving members and other arrears owed ARD UNTH, UNTH management has instead of immediately paying off these arrears to assuage members, resorted to making their rather routine promises. Members recalled that the CMD made similar promises last year with well-respected medical elders in UNTH as witnesses but reneged on this promise, little wonder the medical elders have refused to mediate on his behalf during this present impasse.
v) That nothing significant has been done to improve the services offered by UNTH which is supposed to be one of the apex health institutions in Nigeria. The moribund state of facilities in the hospital including but not limited to Radiotherapy machines, CT scan and MRI machines; lack of necessary drugs and other hospital consumables in the hospital pharmacies; lack of laboratory request forms, prescription sheets and file tags and the current dilapidated state of general wards and consulting clinics have received very little or no attention. The implication is that patients will continue suffering and risking death in travelling to town, sometimes as far as Ibadan to access these services which UNTH ordinarily has the capacity to offer say for lack of commitment.
2) Members also noted that the disregard of the UNTH management for the rule of law and ethical civil service practices has lost further boundary by their recent ill guided action. Members of ARD UNTH who have been promoted for several months now having met all the requirements for such promotions, were recently demoted in pay/salary package WITHOUT any prior notice or understanding reached with those concerned.
3) Members also noted that 3 months deductions made from their salaries for ARD dues and other rather recent deductions made from members’ salaries for ARD UNTH have not been paid into ARD account. Most disheartening is that as far back as December capitation is yet to be paid into ARD account as at the date of the Congress.
4) That our colleagues in Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, National Orthopaedic Hospital Enugu and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka have since restored services in the various Hospitals because their hospital managements have either commenced implementation of skipping or have made strong commitment towards paying such with the next salary. Members also noted that these colleagues of ours are not being owed 2014 teaching allowance arrears and other heartbreaking arrears being owed Resident Doctors and medical officers in UNTH.
After an exhaustive and careful debate, members unanimously resolved as follows:
1) That the 10 week old strike of ARD UNTH will continue indefinitely until the UNTH management makes adequate commitment towards meeting all our legitimate demands because so far, the management has done nothing different from the state of things before the strike commenced.
2) That the UNTH management is advised in the best interest of the numerous patients of UNTH to liaise with their colleagues in Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital Sokoto, National Hospital Abuja, Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Federal Medical Centre Keffi, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba, Federal Medical Centre Owo, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital Bauchi and the many other Federal Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria where medical doctors are paid their appropriate salaries and hence industrial harmony exist, to ascertain how they achieved this and quickly implement it in UNTH.
3) That the payment of the disheartening Teaching Allowance Arrears, advancement arrears, 2 months relativity arrears, all outstanding update and exam refunds and capitations due to ARD UNTH is sacrosanct and must be cleared to bring our members at par with their colleagues in other centres.
4) That the President, the EXCOs and all volunteering members are mandated to do all within the ambit of the law to expose the injustices being meted out on our members to the whole world and cause the UNTH management to do the needful.
5) That we still demand for the forensic auditing of UNTH personnel records in conjunction with NMA Enugu State and MDCAN UNTH as agreed in a meeting between the NMA and Committee of CMDs/MDs several months ago. This of course will include the critical review of UNTH warrant of pay and nominal roll to ascertain how UNTH personnel cost has been utilized in the past four years at least.
6) That we demand that services offered by UNTH be improved and measures put in place to sustain and add value to the improvements, this will also include putting an end to the unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks patients experience in UNTH.
7) That the CMD of UNTH is advised to desist from threatening and intimidating Doctors in UNTH who are on strike in demand for their legitimate rights. Members advised him to channel the threats and display of powers into meeting all our legitimate demands so as to restore services in UNTH which he serves as the leader.
8) That we express our full commitment and support for the ‘Change’ agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari which has already started yielding enormous and palpable fruits to the ordinary Nigerians. We however appeal to the President to cause the UNTH management to immediately put an end to this impasse by shifting grounds in favour of our demands which are not only legitimate but attainable.
9) That we once more appeal to Nigerians whom our strike has subjected to untoward hardship to please continue bearing with us as unfortunately the UNTH management pushed us into this last option of going on strike. Negotiations on all our demands started over a year ago, but the UNTH management has either reneged or not given adequate attention to/commitment towards resolving these issues thereby pushing us into this very avoidable strike action. We appeal to Nigerians to prevail on the UNTH management through any means possible to attend to our demands and have us return back to work within the shortest possible time.
(1) Dr Ugwuoke Aloy Ifedinso, President ARD UNTH
(2)Dr Ndiokwelu Chibuzo, General Secretary UNTH
(3) Dr Chukwuma C. Oraegbunam
Public Relations Officer (PRO)
Association of Resident Doctors (ARD)
University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH)
Ituku Ozalla, Enugu
Personal email: email@example.com
Dr Paul John
Member, Publicity Committee NMA Rivers state