Governor Babatunde Fashola.
By Steve Dada
Lagos residents seeking medical treatment in hospitals owned by the state government may face hard times as medical practitioners under the auspices of Medical Guild Wednesday called on its members to down tools, in what they alleged desire to challenge poor conditions of service.
Officials of the guild claimed that the three-day warning strike has become necessary to protect against the failure of the state government to implement the agreement reached with the guild a year ago on the improvement of welfare condition for its members through Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
The doctors also claimed among other things, that the state government has subjected them to an untold hardship in the payment of heavy taxation and vowed that the situation must be reversed for necessary truce to be brokered with the state government.
Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, said: “The state government has continued to fool the doctors with what he described as 'flimsy excuses' not to pay the approved and signed salary structure by Governor Babatunde Fashola.”
Odusote said the strike which commenced Wednesday will run till Friday except the government heeds members’ demands; saying that the doctors have been considering the plights of the masses of the state on their medical requirements was why they delayed the strike till now.
However, in a swift reaction, an official of the state government (name withheld) said the Lagos State Government has a health work-force that is among the largest for any state in the federation, stressing that a significant proportion of the state’s budget is expended on health and health- related issues every year, including the urgent needs to upgrade infrastructure and human resource for health development.
“As a deliberate policy, government has placed a premium on training and welfare issues as they pertain to health workers, especially doctors; even, international partnerships are also being explored and used as vehicles for sending staff to acquire new skills and international exposure.”
He also explained that, on the welfare front the state has made every effort to maintain a reasonable level of parity for its Medical Doctors with their peers in other federal institution despite its limited resources and liberty to fix the wages of its staff at levels that it can afford within its resources.