Monday the 16th of March, doctors in the employ of the Lagos State government would embarked on an indefinite withdrawal of services from all state public hospitals.
According to a release, the move is a measure of last resort to demand for a reversal of certain injustices and anomalies in the Lagos state health sector. These are:
1) Continued casualization of doctors of all cadres in the hospital services. Doctors are now employed under a contract non pensionable employment. A situation which started since 2012 and is clearly against the provisions of the civil service rules guiding employment.
2) Stoppage of residency program in LASUTH. Since 2012 the Lagos state government has refused to continue the training of Medical Doctors into various specialties. This action has a negative effect (both immediate and long term) on the health of Lagosians and the ability of the health system to render efficient care. Most appalling is the fact that LASUTH is a teaching hospital that was established for this main purpose.
3) Selective application of a draconian ‘no work- no pay clause’ to the doctors alone. Since 2012 all the associations that have gone on strike have been paid in full except doctors in Lagos state who are presently owed three months’ salary. The worst part is that in September 2014 the Lagos state government withheld the salaries of doctors in the state for no just cause despite working fully that whole month.
Since September 2014, the Lagos NMA/Medical Guild have engaged the government in dialogue and advocacy through personal contacts and the mass media but all these have fallen on deaf ears. Several deadlines have been given and postponed but the government remain unyielding.
The Medical Guild is therefore left with no option than to take this hard choice of industrial action. During this period the doctors would continue to render emergency services only, in the hospitals. It is therefore hoped that the government would do the needful, to forestall unnecessary hardship of the masses.