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Published On: Mon, Nov 21st, 2016

Patients Groan as Doctors Strike Grounds Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa

By Amos Okioma.
LAGOS NOVEMBER 21ST (URHOBOTODAY)- The ongoing strike by resident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa has crippled the hospital as other unions threaten to join the strike even as patients lament.
The doctors under the auspices of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) had on November 15, commenced an indefinite strike to protest nonpayment of salary for past two months.
It was also gathered that the hospital also owed its workforce a backlog of 52 per cent short payment arrears for four months.

Urhobotoday correspondent who visited the hospital on Sunday reports that members of the public who throng to the facility are being turned back by nurses and other health professionals in the hospital who have yet to join the strike.
The strike which entered its fifth day had rendered the hospital desolate as patients on admission were discharged.
A patient Mr Bozimor Oduku, who was abruptly, discharged expressing sadness and frustration over the strike said that he could not afford exorbitant medical bills at any private hospital in Yenagoa.
“This strike is taking place at a time of economic hardship, before coming here for treatment I had visited many private hospitals and I could not pay, one of them advised me to come here and the fees are very affordable except for the high cost of drugs due to the foreign exchange problems.
“Now that I came here for succor, they have come to ask us to pack and go home, where do I go from here? To go home and die? God forbid, ” he said
President, Association of Resident Doctors in FMC, Yenagoa , Dr. Okoye Chukwunonso said the doctors were yet to shift grounds till their salaries are paid in full.
He said that the management was yet to initiate talks to resolve the industrial dispute adding that if nothing was done they are ready to stay at home till next year.
Also Dr Keme Pondei Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association in Bayelsa, said the doctors have no option than to withdrawn their services haven exhausted their patience. .
He urged the general public to bear with them as they cannot render services with an empty stomach.
A Nurse with FMC, Mrs. Chinyere Okpu, expressed sadness over the non payment of three months salary and short payment for four months for doctors and other medical and non medical staff of the hospital. .
She said that all other staff of the hospital have resolved to join the indefinite strike action embarked by doctors of the hospital if the outstanding salaries were not paid by end of November.
Our correspondent gathered that other unions within the hospital under the auspicies of National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) had threatened to down tools and the end of November if the hospital fails to clear outstanding salaries.
Mr Oginike Lante Chairman of NUAHP in FMC Yenagoa said on Sunday that the salary arrears and outstanding shortfalls cuts across staff of the hospital adding that members of his group would go on strike if the situation is not addressed.
When contacted for reaction the Chief Medical Director Dr Dennis Alagoa said on telephone that he was out of town and could not immediately speak on the development.

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