Patients seeking medical services at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, have expressed frustration over the indefinite strike currently being embarked upon by Association of Resident Doctors (ARD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the strike entered 19th day on Wednesday.
A NAN correspondent, who visited the tertiary hospital on Wednesday, saw the frustration visibly written on the faces of patients seeking medical care at the facility.
NAN also reports that the industrial action has affected activities in key sections, such as the ever-busy Accident and Emergency and Out-Patient Department, both of which were unusually quiet.
Consultants, nurses and other allied health workers were, however, seen offering services, even as patients experienced unusual delay due to the limited number of doctors on duty.
Some of the patients, who were obviously frustrated, claimed to have arrived at the hospital as early as 6.30 am., adding that the consultants only attended to patients based on appointments.
Some of them, particularly those at the Surgery-Out-Patient Department, said that they were told that the doctors could only see a limited number of patients on a particular day.
The ‘lucky’ patients, who were attended to, said that they had previous appointments, but that they were delayed more than usual, as only the consultants were seeing attending to patients.
A 64-year-old woman told NAN that she visited the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Outpatient Clinic based on a previously scheduled appointment.
“I am happy because it is my appointment day and I was lucky to see a doctor despite the strike, but it took longer than usual.
“I will advise anyone who has appointment during this period to leave home early and get to UCH, possibly by 7 am.
“It is only the nurses and the consultants who are attending to patients; the resident doctors are not available due to the ongoing strike,” she said.
The patient appealed to the Federal Government to find solutions to incessant strikes in the health sector, “because it is the patients who bear the brunt.”
One of the striking doctors, who also spoke with NAN on condition of not been named said that the federal government owed him up to three months salary arrears.
He said that he had been forced to seek temporary employment in a private hospital.
“Our demands are legitimate. At UCH, we work tirelessly day and night to save patients’ lives; we earn and deserve our wages.
“We are appealing to the federal government to please pay our salaries because we also have families to cater for,’’ he said.
Reacting, the UCH spokesperson, Akintoye Akinrinlola, said that the hospital’s management was already working towards resolving the issues over which the doctors had embarked on strike, adding that April salary had already been paid.
Meanwhile, the resident doctors have vowed to continue with the strike until their demands were met.
The ARD President, UCH chapter, Temitope Hussein, confirmed that although April salary had been paid, they were still being owed January, February and March salaries.
He also added that “much more importantly in their demands, which had yet to be met, was the migration of members to IPPIS payment platform for onward payment of salaries”.
NAN reports that the doctors had, on May 1, embarked on an indefinite strike to protest non-payment of January, February, March and April salaries to some members.
The other issue being protested is the non-enrolment of members into IPPIS, which, they said, was affecting payment of their emoluments. (NAN)