The Lagos State Government on Friday appealed to doctors in its public health sector not to join their counterparts in other parts of the country on their proposed nationwide strike.
This is contained in a statement issued in Lagos by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba.
He appealed to the doctors to consider the interests of the people of Lagos and their medical ethics and shun the proposed strike by the National Medical Association (NMA).
Ibirogba said that any industrial action by doctors would bring untold hardship to the people and could result in avoidable death of patients.
He said that the nature of the work of doctors did not permit them to embark on industrial action without recourse to its implication on the society.
“Workers in the health sector are statutorily classified as offering essential services and there are laid down process and procedures before embarking on such action,” he said.
Ibirogba said that strikes had in the past caused untold suffering, injury and death to innocent patients, who were caught in such strikes.
He warned that the state government would not hesitate to apply the law on erring officers to protect the interest of innocent citizens.
He said that whatever disagreement NMA had against the Federal Government should not be extended to Lagos State Government.
“The issues the national body of NMA has with Federal Government should be ironed out with the Federal Government without allowing it to affect Lagosians.
“This is contrary to Sections 118, 209 and 210 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
“It provides that it is an offence to maliciously break a contract of service knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequence of doing so will endanger human life or seriously endanger public health,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state government would not hesitate to enforce the “a no-work-no- pay’’ policy against doctors that refused to report at their duty posts as at when scheduled.
“Any employee who abandons his duty post without reasonable cause will be taken to have repudiated his contract of employment.
“Such an employee will be held fully liable for the consequences of his or her actions,” he said.
Ibirogba said that the state government had a duty to ensure that health service delivery to the people of the state was not disrupted.
He said that Lagos State Government had been implementing infrastructure development and capacity building in its health sector.
He, therefore, appealed to the doctors to use other means to channel their demands rather than the strike option.
The NMA had on Dec. 22, 2013 directed its members to commence a nationwide strike from 8.00 a.m. on Jan. 6, if government failed to satisfactorily meet its demands.
The doctors said that they would be protesting against poor working conditions, inadequate funding and poor infrastructure in the nation’s health sector.
Mean time, indications have emerged that the threatened strike may not hold any longer, as the federal government was said to have acceded to the demands of the doctors, with the proposed appointment of a Surgeon-General of the federation one of the steps taken by the government to appease the doctors. [NAN]