Doctors’ strike paralysis activities in UCTH

By Joseph Kingston

The strike embarked upon by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MEDICAN) University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) branch, on Wednesday, has brought activities in the hospital to a standstill.
Secretary of MEDICAN, Dr. Ngim Ogbu Ngim, who called out their members on an indefinite industrial action, said the action was as a result of non-payment of their allowances since February, this year.
Ngim said: “In line with the house decision during the last meeting, the 21 days ultimatum given the management has expired. All members are hereby instructed to proceed on an indefinite industrial action until the management pays full complement of our February salary.

“Please note that no consultant should offer clinical service under any guise, and resident doctors/house officers are not to take on patients without consultant’s coverage for medico-legal reasons. However, only didactic lectures for the medical students should continue since we don’t have dispute with UNICAL.”

Checks at the ever-busy UCTH, however, indicated that a huge number of patients were now not only stranded but frustrated, while some with special cases were making arrangements to relocate to private clinics within Calabar metropolis.

One of the senior nurses, who preferred not to be named, told reporters that the junior doctors and nurses were taken aback by the consultants’ action as they were not notified earlier “so as to stop further admission of new patients to avoid carnage in the hospital.”

She said there were moves by the management to stop further admission of patients with serious cases since no consultant would be available handle such cases.
But, in his reaction, the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Thomas Agan, said: “We appreciate that they (striking consultants) are the ones that lay the golden egg. But I plead that they lay good foundation for the students to avoid carnage in the hospital. We shall be glad to offer any assistance.

“We plead with members of MEDICAN to please return to work as management is making plans for the release of their outstanding allowances. They are very crucial to the hospital because a lot of patients depend on their services.”

The CMD also appealed to the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General’s Office and Budgetary Office to expedite action in the release of salaries and any entitlement of the striking doctors.

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