A total of 788 doctors in the Lagos State Public Service were yesterday sacked by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Board and the State’s Health Service Commission (HSC), following a strike embarked upon by the doctors since April 16.
In a statement made available to journalists from the office of the Head of Service (HoS) of Lagos State, the two bodies attributed the sack to the refusal of the striking doctors to answer to queries issued to them to explain why they were absent from work without leave and without the due observance of the rules and regulations, guiding strikes and industrial actions in the state’s public service.
According to the statement, 316 doctors were working with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, while the remaining 472 were from other hospitals in the state.
The statement also said the Lagos State Government has announced the employment of 373 doctors for immediate deployment in the public hospitals, while recruitment continues.
Explaining the acts leading to the sack of the doctors, the statement declared, “Resulting from the contemptible act of the medical doctors LASUTH Board and HSC, the two bodies that appointed them in line with subsisting statutes, served those who were ‘Absent without Leave’ (AWOL) with queries,” adding that, while a handful of them responded, majority of the doctors shunned the query.
The statement maintained that the strike came as a rude shock to the state government, “since the leadership of the Medical Guild still met during the week preceding the illegal strike with top government officials in charge of Health and Establishment Sectors.”
The statement explained further that, to ensure that the healthcare delivery service of the state continues to function for the benefit of the people, the state government has placed advertisement in some national dailies seeking applications from suitably qualified medical doctors and consultants/specialists desirous of working with the government, adding that the response has been overwhelming.
Confirming the sack, Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote noted that the sack of his members is a confirmation of the government’s insincerity to resolve the issue on ground.
Odusote explained that the Guild has taken its hands off the matter and has handed the case to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
While condemning the state government, he said they called the doctors for a meeting on Saturday, whereas they had signed their sack letter a day before.
The embattled union leader also took a swipe at the House of Assembly passing a vote of no confidence on the bid to resolve the issue.
Odusote said the doctors had no regret embarking on the strike, adding that the wages of doctors were nothing to write home about.
Daily Sun also learnt that the affected doctors were having a meeting at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) with the NMA to determine the next line of action as at the time of filing this report.
On what made the strike illegal, the statement noted, that the doctors only gave the state government 24 hours notice against the time-tested and statute-bound processes and procedures for declaration of industrial disputes.”