The Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) chapter, yesterday commenced an indefinite strike over their working conditions.

President of the association, Dr Ramon Moronkola, said the strike was sequel to a 21-day ultimatum and three-day warning strike which ended on Wednesday, June 17.

He spoke at a rally/press conference organised by the ARD at the hospital.

According to him, the association was compelled to embark on strike after several appeals to management of the institution yielded no positive response.

He said, “The purpose of the strike is not to punish the patients, but to press home some legitimate demands. Consultants and some health workers are still attending to patients, but we, as an association, need to send out a message because we are tired of giving haphazard services to the public. Some individuals are running this institution any how they like; they would not do this were it to be their private practices”.

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He added: “We have bent backwards severally to ensure that we continue service delivery, however, when the person at the helm of affairs thinks that we are wasting our time, then the public should task them. We are demanding for good working conditions which include making the environment conducive, as well as the implementation of the ‘skipping’ structure as directed by the federal government.

“Doctors have been stagnated for years; and on the skipping, since the 2013 directives by the FG, the management of LUTH has refused to obey. I am calling on the government to look into the situation in the hospital. They should come and investigate; we cannot allow a public institution like this to be at the mercy of just some individuals; in places where there are industrial disharmony, questions should be asked. There is no constant water supply in LUTH; this is dangerous because diseases, especially communicable ones, can further spread from both patients and doctors. The light situation is epileptic and the wards are in a sorry state; these need to be addressed urgently,” Moronkola said.

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Dr Ayodele Renner, a resident doctor, said, ” If we continue to keep quiet, LUTH will further degenerate to perhaps, just a consulting institution. There is a serious challenge in LUTH and we want the public and FG to step in, LUTH needs to be restructured. There is a great unavailability of consumables and a lot of times, we are not able to do investigations here, so they are outsourced. Doctors have had to buy consumables and writing materials on several occasions; drip stands are not even available”.

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In his reaction, LUTH’s acting Chief Medical Director, Prof. Chris Bode, said that every industrial action had its pros and cons.

He, however, noted that strikes were not the best ways to resolve challenges, especially when they had become incessant.

Bode appealed to the resident doctors to be patient as the new administration would sort out many issues once they are fully settled.