The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has threatened to launch a nationwide strike if the federal government does not meet their demands.
This was just as the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) revealed on Tuesday that more than 150 nurses have resigned from the tertiary hospital in the past three years.
The association in a letter to Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire, signed by its president Dr Emeka Innocent Orji, said the processes for the strike would begin if the issues were not addressed before their National Executive Council (NEC) of January 2023. Meeting scheduled for January 24-28.
The letter read in part: “Our January 2023 National Executive Council meeting has been scheduled for January 24-28, 2023, and we can very clearly confirm feelings that if these issues are not resolved before that meeting, it is likely that our members give us a mandate to immediately start the processes that will lead to nationwide industrial disharmony in the health sector.”
NARD had previously issued an ultimatum to the federal government six months ago due to persistent unresolved issues affecting its members, including irregularities in the new circular regarding an upward revision of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), payment pending of the arrears of the new risk subsidy, the non-payment of the delayed jumps of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the non-payment of the consequent adjustment of the minimum wage to some of its affiliates.
Other disputed issues included the delay in the upward revision of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), the salary arrears of its members in state tertiary health institutions that last for several months, including the states of Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe, and non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) in most of the states of the federation.
While it praised the efforts of the government through its ministries, departments and agencies to resolve some of the issues raised, the association nevertheless said that many of them remain largely unresolved and have now become sources of agitation. serious national threat to industrial peace and harmony in the health sector. sector.
NARD said chief among them were: “Missed 2020 MRTF payment, irregularities in the new MRTF circular inconsistent with the Medical Residency Training Act, existing collective bargaining agreements and current economic realities, and review of the CONMESS salary structure.” .
The association added: “We know how critical this period is and the chaos that will ensue if the government does not take action to prevent this from happening, so we humbly implore you to use your good offices to resolve these issues before our January NEC. . meeting. Sir, we trust in your fatherly disposition and believe that you will come to our aid and save this nation from this impending industrial disharmony.”
NARD also copied the letter to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Federation Government Secretary, the Labor and Employment and Finance Ministers respectively, as well as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF). ), among others.
Meanwhile, LASUTH has revealed that more than 150 nurses have resigned from the tertiary hospital in the past three years.
LASUTH Chief Medical Director Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo said this during a press conference in Lagos.
Fabamwo said the situation arose as a result of healthcare workers relocating abroad to practice, noting that the government’s output replacement strategy nonetheless ensured that operations were not disrupted at the hospital.
He added that in recent times the applications for the positions of resident nurses and doctors at the tertiary hospital have been reduced.
To address the challenge, Fabamwo said the hospital now hires dual-skilled nurses and also hired some retired but not tired nurses to fill the gaps.
On the issue of bed space management, Fabamwo said the hospital was using a team of nurses called a “monitoring team” to ensure rapid transfers of stable patients from emergency units to wards.
This, according to him, had created spaces for incoming patients.
Fabamwo revealed that the ongoing construction of the 120-bed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) building at the hospital was at a 90 percent completion level.
He said the SDG building would alleviate the problem of bed space constraints, improve critical care services at the hospital and help reduce medical tourism in the state and country.
The CMD added that the hospital was also working on expanding its Surgical Emergency Unit, Psychiatry Unit and Resident Physician rooms.
According to him, the policies and infrastructure development were to improve health services and the patient experience in the hospital.
On the subject of Solomon Oriere, who allegedly sold COVID-19 vaccination cards without inoculation, Fabamwo said that the imposter was not LASUTH staff.
The CMD said Oriere had been arrested and is currently in police custody, adding that the public would be kept abreast of the results of the investigation.
The federal government said that between July and August 2022, 422 people were caught trying to use fake COVID-19 vaccination cards to travel.
He said the 422 people were discovered by Port Health Services (PHS) and detained while trying to go through the clearance process at the airport.
Onyebuichi Ezigbo in Abuja