Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH) on Monday embarked on a seven-day warning strike.
Newsmen who visited the hospital reports that relations of patients at the teaching hospital were making frantic efforts to move their loved ones to an alternative healthcare facility.
They alleged that they had been advised to do so as doctors were no longer available to attend to them.
It would be recalled that Association Resident Doctors (ARD), COOUTH branch had been on an indefinite strike for three weeks over what they termed poor working conditions.
The ARD said the state government were paying only 40 per cent of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scales to doctors and have not provided funding for befitting for the status of COOUTH as a teaching hospital.
The consultants had notified the hospital management of their resolve to embark on the one week strike in a letter dated May 31, signed by Dr Chukwudi Okani and Samuel Udobi, Chairman and Publicity Secretary respectively.
MDCAN promised to resume work on June 10, while pleading that the general public should understand their action.
According to them , we sincerely apologise to our patients to bear with us as we have to take this harsh decision at this period to be able to guarantee a functional healthcare system.
A top official of MDCAN, who pleaded anonymity said they were embarking on the warning strike in sympathy with resident doctors to draw attention of the government to the issues that led to the lingering strike which began on May 13.
The official said they were giving Anambra government 21 days to address the demands of the striking ARD, noting that MDCAN would embark on full fledged industrial action if truce was not reached within the period.
The consultants said COOUTH was not a general hospital but a tertiary healthcare institution that must operate at minimum acceptable standards for hospital of its status.
“This is not a general hospital; many things are not working here, teaching hospital is made up of experts from various fields with with best trainings from around the world.
“We have given them 21 days to address the demands of resident doctors, we are not asking for salary increase, we are saying that they should implement a structure that has been there for a long time,” the consultant said.
Meanwhile, Mr Akunna, relation to one Ujuka Ifediba, a patient in the surgery section said they had been advised to move her to another facility.
Akunna said Ifediba who was brought in from Lagos was due for surgery after spending months and wondered where they could go from there.