ONDO state government has sacked the striking Residents doctors at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital (UNIMETH).
Their sacking was contained in a letter announcing the suspension of the institution residency training programme from August 1st, 2020. The letter urged “all Resident doctors directly employed by the hospital to seek continuation of their programme in other institutions where there are ongoing training programs. The letter which was dated June 23 and signed by Director of Administration of UNIMETH, Adeeyo Babatunde, said it was to allow the hospital focus on service delivery in order to combat COVID-19 outbreak without distraction of agitation from the Resident Doctors.
It however pointed out that some Resident doctors might be considered for re-admission when the programme recommences. Recall that the Resident doctors last week embarked on strike action over their demands to include provision of PPE and other security measures to save their members from COVID-19, payment of outstanding arrears from September 2019 to May 2020, payment of 50 per cent COVID-19 allowance amongst others. Reacting to the development at the commissioning of the first dialysis centre in Akure, the Chief Medical Director of UNIMEDTH, Dr. Oluwole Ige, blasted the Residents doctors saying they were more interested in unionism than commitment to work.
Dr. Ige said the Residents doctors were the most disruptive group to the growth of the hospital despite earning the best pay package among other group of doctors in the hospital. Dr. Ige stated that the good things happening at the hospital were being overshadowed by the constant agitation of the resident doctors. According to him, “The Resident doctors earn the best pay package among the four groups of doctors in the hospital with additional benefit of training and advancing to be consultant. That has been the most disruptive group to the growth of the hospital. “They have exaggerated and deliberately distorted the issues of their wage to the extent of putting the hospital management and government into disrepute.
“The training programme might be suspended until such a time that it will be conducive to train without rancour.” But in a swift response, spokesman of the Ondo ARD, Taiwo Olagbe described their sacking as a joke that cannot hold any water and could crumble health sector in the state. Olagbe said comments from the CMD were regrettable and unfortunate stating that their agitations were genuine because of non-payment of saláries and arrears. He said plans were on to slash their salaries from June. The state government through the information and Orientation commissioner Donald Ojogo in a statement denied the sack of the doctors. Ojogo said that ” whatever issues that led to the strike action by the Doctors under the Residency Programme and the reprimand by the Management of UNIMED Teaching Hospital are currently being looked into. Such shall be resolved by Monday, hopefully. “We wish to, therefore, emphasize that at no time did the State Government sack Doctors as the public is being made to erroneously believe. ” It should be noted that the UNIMED Residency arrangement is the first since the establishment of the Nation’s premier medical University. It is mostly undertaken by the Federal Government as many States do not find financial space for such. “Nonetheless, it is pertinent to clarify that there is a wide difference between Doctors employed by the State Government and those under a Residency Programme. Ojogo noted that “The Residency is a Post Graduate Programme usually sponsored by Governments even as such beneficiaries render services for a specific period. In effect, Doctors under the Residency Programme are more or less, temporary Staff members who qualify as Consultants after their period of training.