President of the Resident Doctors UCH, Dr. Lukman Ogunjinmi, said the resident doctors embarked on the strike based on two issues, which are casualisation of medical officers and the refusal of the UCH management to honour a circular issued by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation on the welfare of doctors.
Ogunjimi said, "The Federal Government in the circular permitted a particular grade level skip by all health workers. It has been done for all other health workers while some centres have started doing it for doctors. This is backed up. Here in UCH, it has not been done."
Publicity Secretary of the Association of Residents Doctors in UCH, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, said, in the letter of employment given to newly employed medical officers, the management put a clause, which states that after three years, their appointment, which was supposed to be permanent, will be terminated if they don’t get residency placement in UCH or any other place.
Professor Temitope Alonge, Chef Medical Director, UCH claimed that he was unaware of the clause.
On the issue of skipping, Alonge stated that the management received a circular from the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) that skipping should be embarked upon, adding that non-doctors usually skip Grade Level 10.
He added, "In the circular that we have from the National Salary and Wages Commission, there is nothing like skipping for doctors. So, whatever conflict that has arisen, the only body that is empowered to provide an answer is the National Salary Wages Commission. You don’t pay what you don’t have."
Seeing UCH is a reference hospital and many patients will be needing their services (which is one of the best in Nigeria), I hope these issues are resolved early.