by Sesan Olufowobi and Bukola Adebayo
The negotiations between the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Medical Association mediated by the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos branch, have remained deadlocked.
The Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, said on Monday that the meeting which was attended by the state’s Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe; the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; and the Chairman of Lagos NBA, Mr. Taiwo Taiwo; could not be concluded as an agreement could not be reached.
Odusote said, “NBA acted as the mediator, the body negotiated with us and took our positions to the side of the government while it also made the sides of the government known to us. But we have yet to agree.”
He, however, said the next talks continue on Tuesday (today).
Meanwhile, there were indications that some patients in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, might have died as a result of the crisis, which started on April 24.
A source at the laboratory unit of the hospital on Monday said the death toll had been gradually increasing, especially at the Medical Emergency ward.
He said many of the casualties were patients that could not be discharged due to the critical nature of their illness.
The source said, “Many of the patients are in critical conditions but there are no experts to attend to them. LASUTH lost more doctors than any hospital in the state.”
A patient at the male ward, who gave his name simply as Lasisi, said there were 12 patients in the ward.
He said, “I was admitted for an operation a day before the strike. I could not have the surgery. I have a kidney problem but my consultant was sacked and no doctor has attended to me since then.”
In another development the House Committee on Health which visited the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Aba, on Monday said the solidarity strike by federal doctors in the state was illegal and unconstitutional.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, who held meetings with Chief Medical Directors of the four federal hospitals in the state and the NMA condemned incessant strikes by health workers in the state.
Elumelu said, “There is need to look at the legality and constitutionality of a solidarity strike. Dialogue is the best option.”
He added that the committee would continue to prevail on the doctors to call off their solidarity strike.
The state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Edamisan Temiye, said the doctors would call an emergency meeting to review the situation.
However, the state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria has described the alleged threats by the Nigerian Medical Association to the newly recruited doctors as uncivilised.
In a statement by its state Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, the party said instead of threats, the sacked doctors should embrace dialogue.
The ACN said, “It is sad that doctors that should have been reticent in their actions are now acting like area boys and are now issuing threats to colleagues.”
The party urged security agencies to investigate the threats and ensure that those behind them were brought to justice.
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