As doctors in Lagos State-owned hospitals began their three-day warning strike on Wednesday, nurses were on hand to take care of patients.
The doctors, under the aegis of the Medical Guild, had threatened to embark on the strike to press home their demands for the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and downward review of excessive taxation.
Despite the warning by the Lagos State Government that participants in the strike would forfeit their salaries within the period, the doctors went ahead.
Expectedly, the strike has affected activities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, as patients were seen milling around the wards and offices.
A patient, Mrs. Ogechi Ochuko, who had an appointment, toldPUNCH Metro that though the doctors were not around, the nurses had been attending to patients as much as they could.
“Those that have cases that could not be handled by the nurses, were given appointment to come back later when the strike would have been over,” Ochuko said.
A man, Mr. John Igbinovia, who came with his son, said he was waiting for directives from the nurses.
“I doubt if they would attend to me, but I hope the doctors would resume after three days as expected because it would affect a lot of things,” he said.
Moriamo Shehu, a mother of one of the patients undergoing treatment for kidney problem at the Medical Emergency Unit in LASUTH, said her daughter had been languishing in pains on the sick bed.
She said,” My daughter has been down with kidney problem for some time now. A kidney dialysis ought to have been done for her but the doctors are nowhere to be found.
“The doctors’ union and the state government should please put us into consideration and prevent us from losing our loved ones.”
Mrs. Iyabo Ibrahim, whose husband had been in a coma since Friday at the hospital pleaded with the two parties not to allow the strike to extend beyond 24 hours.
One of the visitors to Surgical Ward of LASUTH, Adebayo Alao, said no emergency case had been brought to the ward, noting that nurses were already becoming frustrated.
“I have been here for over five hours and I haven’t seen any emergency case all day but one of the nurses threatened that she would reject any case brought before her because she was tired,” he said.
The spokesperson for the hospital, Mr. Dele Johnson, said consultants were filling in for the doctors and urged members of the public not to despair as emergency cases were still being attended to.
Similarly, the Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, Prof. Wale Oke, told one of our correspondents that all was fine.
“You can go to all the wards in LASUTH and find out for yourself. Everything is working smoothly,” Oke said.
One of our correspondents, who visited General Hospital, Ifako, Agege, observed that the doctors heeded the warning strike.
Only scanty number of people was seen at the hospital’s reception and on the premises.
A pharmacist, who declined to give her name, said the doctors had commenced the warning strike.
“As you can see, none of them is around. We are not doctors; we have to do our own work,” she said.
A patient, Tosin Adekoya, said she had an appointment with a doctor but was grossly disappointed when she was told they (doctors) had gone on strike.
“This incessant strike by doctors in Lagos is something the government has to seriously look into. I also expect the doctors to bear in mind that their industrial action will take a serious toll on the lives of people. They should call off the strike while they continue negotiation with the government,” Adekoya said.
When PUNCH Metro visited the Gbagada General hospital, the doctors also observed the warning strike.
A nurse, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said the doctors did not report to duty at the hospital.
“I am on morning duty and so far no doctor in my unit reported for duty. However we as nurses have been playing our roles as regards caring for the sick admitted to this hospital,” she said.