By SOLA OGUNDIPE & CHIOMA OBINNA
IKEJA – The Lagos State Government has said the decision to lay off 788 doctors may yield more benefits in the long run as it has presented opportunity for the total restructuring of the healthcare system.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, said the government was working on the modalities aimed at reducing industrial disputes in the sector, ensure performance, and to get value for money.
Idris, who argued that the restructuring will bring about a new set of doctors, who will have a different view to health services delivery, added that the restructuring will ensure that doctors would be thinking along care and not only treatment.
He said: “We will now have doctors who will be thinking along care in terms of attitude, in terms of patient welfare and will at the same time be responsive.
In terms of the quality of care we provide to our patients, these are some of the things that need to be addressed.”
Further, he noted that the restructuring will address discipline within the system, the issue of team work, the code of ethics among others.
Admitting that the cost of the crisis was huge, the Commissioner said: “Just like even before the strike, some of the things that are being done due to inefficiency of the system also cost government. But again, in terms of casualty during the strike, like I did say we have taken full stock of what has happened, how many people affected and what is on ground now. Those are the things that gave us what best to do.
He said the decision was also one aspect government has exhibited leadership, saying, “allowing the crisis to continue may mean greater cost than what we would have expected.”
Reacting to the disparities on the number of doctors employed, Idris said approval was given to recruit 373. “We have applications from different areas, but we can’t just recruit immediately. They have to go through some examinations and interviews and again orientation. They are being deployed in batches.
Some of them are going to be for short term basis and some for longer term. It is going to take time.” Debunking allegations that the state government had might have violated the right of the patient to health, Idris replied: “To the best of my knowledge, government has not violated the patient’s rights.
The role of government is to provide a platform for the patient access to health, but when it come to a situation where that access to health is being impeded by those who should provide it, then, government has to do something about it.