Patients have begun to lament as activities take a plunge at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Ondo State.
This followed the indefinite strike action embarked upon by the Association of Resident Doctors in the state.
The doctors had been protesting since last week over the government’s failure to accede to their demands including the non-payment of their salaries.
On Monday, many patients and their relatives, who turned up at the public hospital both in Ondo town and Akure, the state capital, were not able to get medical services from the striking doctors.
It was observed that several patients, who had appointments with doctors, were turned back by nurses on duty.
At the records office of the hospital in Ondo town, some patients, who had already collected cards to see a doctor, were left disappointed after being denied the chance to do so.
One patient, who spoke with our correspondent, Mrs Bisi Adelaide, lamented her inability to access care at the hospital due to the strike by doctors.
She said, “I never knew doctors had begun strike and I came from Idanre to see a doctor but now I am disappointed having booked an appointment with him. The nurses are not even willing to attend to us.”
Jacob Orimisan, an out-patient, who visited the hospital for screening and routine check, also said he came with his son for treatment but was surprised to hear that resident doctors were on strike.
He described the situation as pathetic while appealing to the government to dialogue with the striking doctors.
He said, “We have to go back home or visit any private hospital especially for the treatment of my son because only God knows when they will call off this strike.”
Speaking on the strike, Acting President of the Association of Resident Doctors in the hospital, Dr Sanni Ezekiel, decried the poor conduction of work, non-payment of salaries and COVID-19 allowances.
Ezekiel revealed that over 50 resident doctors in the state had disengaged from service due to the non-payment of salaries by the state government.
While noting that the disengagement had become a daily occurrence, he said doctors were not willing to return to the hospital until the government acceded to their demands.
He said, “We have issued the minimum demand for which this strike would be suspended or called off. At least our January salary shortfall must be paid, the June and August salaries must be paid. Though we are yet to receive September and October salaries.
“We are short-staffed, the resident doctors have been reduced in some of the departments as many are leaving the system and with this development, some of the doctors would have to do back to back calls.
“Having persevered and cared for our patients, rendering our services, our salaries are not being paid. We are owed up to the tune of four and a half months’ salaries.
“After our initial warning strike, all we have been getting before are a series of promises and pleas which do not translate to solving the problems at hand.
“We have been left with no other option than to commence the indefinite strike.
“So, we are calling on both the management of the hospital and the state government that they should come up with solutions to all these challenges. The most paramount is the issue of our salaries.”
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