January 15, 2020

Shortage:  Medical Guild warns of imminent crisis in health services

Shortage: Medical Guild warns of imminent crisis in health services

Says it’s one doctor to 10,000 patients in Lagos

By Chioma Obinna

Medical doctors under the employ of Lagos State government on Tuesday raised the alarm over increasing acute shortage of medical doctors in the state hospitals, noting that one doctor currently attends to 10,000 patients in the state.

The doctors under the auspices of Medical Guild at a press conference in Lagos alleged that the acute shortage has led to verbal and physical attacks by aggrieved patients over long waiting hours, delayed care services.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, the Chairman of Medical Guild, Dr. Oluwajimi Sodipo disclosed that over 600 doctors have left the state employment within two years.

He said: “Between one to three doctors leave the state service monthly.”

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Currently, he said: “Only 2,650 doctors which include administrative staff were in the state service, despite the fact that facilities were being expanded, exiting doctors were not replaced, neither new ones were employed.

“The shortage has led to an astronomical increase in workload and pressure especially when juxtaposed with the scope in medical services and continued increase in population.

“The attendant effects of these shortages have been severe, with an astronomical increase in the work-related ailments among doctors, including mental, cardiovascular disease and even sudden death.”

Sodipo who noted that the shortage also has the devastating potential of affecting the quality of care given to care urged the state government to immediately effect its replacement policy to avert a crisis in the sector.

“The Lagos State Governor had earlier assured that the 25 per cent of the total number of doctors needed will be employed by December 2019 and another 25 per cent by the end of January 2020. Sadly, none has been employed to date,” he lamented.

He also warned that the deadline of January 31st, 2020 has been agreed by the Medical Guild to appraise the situation of the shortage following which a decision will be taken on the issue.

Sodipo, however, warned that doctors in Lagos would no longer tolerate any form of attack on their members as a result of the shortage, adding that the Guild would seek redress through legal means.

“We will no longer accept apologies from perpetrators of violence against doctors.”

Corroborating his views, immediate past Chairman of the Medical Guild, Babajide Saheed who frowned that one doctor sees up to 10,000 patients in the state, appealed to the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to fulfill its promises to employ more doctors and implement the minimum wage as agreed.

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Also, speaking, the Vice-Chairman, Medical Guild, Dr. Oluwole Olusanya appealed to the Governor to immediately implement the employment of doctors as it was currently being done in the state education sector.

Similarly, the Secretary of the Medical Guild, Dr. Ismael Ajibowo warned of the impending crisis in the state health services should the state government failed to meet the agreement it had with the doctors on or before 31st January 2020.

On his part, Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association in Lagos State, Dr. Moruf Abdulsalam said the Lagos State government should be held responsible for the impending collapse of the health system in the state, even as he appealed to the government to do the needful so as to avert the impending crisis.