Lagos Doctors Restless Over Employment Delay

…Service Commission promises filling Gap, January

Lagos doctors are becoming restless over what they call, “insensitivity and delay” by the Lagos State Health Service Commission (LHSC) in employing new health workers to meet the shortfall in healthcare manpower.

Healthstyleplus learnt that the doctors under the aegis of Lagos State Medical Guild have written to the Service Commission, agency responsible for recruitment, the State Commissioner for Health and copied all Medical Directors on their concerns over the delay and why it might be forced to take action.

The doctors said they are becoming restless that in spite of the directive and approval by Governor Babajide Sanwoolu that the Commission commence recruitment exercise last August to bridge the gap of those who exited for greener pastures, the agency continue to delay in Employment.

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They alleged that the “insensitivity and delay” is taking its toll on the few remaining health workers “both doctors and nurses especially” in the system who he said are overworked with some already experiencing failing health.

Investigation by our Correspondent reveals that restlessness of the Lagos doctors is over acute shortfall in staff strength to manage patients’ care especially in many of the public hospitals around city centre.

Dr. Eniayewu Ademuyiwa
Dr. Olujimi Sodipo

The restlessness of the doctors is noticeable mostly during hours of Clinic Consultations as most of the Outpatients Clinics extend till 4pm official closing hours with some patients leaving for home without seeing a doctor.

This has also been found to be one of the major contributing reasons for increased rejection or delay in attending to emergencies especially trauma and accident cases when some of the doctors are either at the clinics or attending to patients on admission.

But in a swift response Permanent Secretary LHSC, Dr. Eniayewu Ademuyiwa admitted to Healthstyleplus in a Telephone interview that there has indeed been a critical shortage of manpower among the State health workers which the Governor has committed to addressing in the 2020 budget.

 

On the allegation of “insensitivity and delay”, Ademuyiwa noted that the first set of health workers to replace some of those who have exited are expected to be filled and completed by end of January, 2020.

“As we are starting now and I’m sure, by next week, we are in the process of replacing those people that have exited for the past three quarters. We have done for the first quarter and we are now in the second quarter. We are even going to make all the replacement faster so that as soon as health workers are leaving they are replaced to avoid this kind of shortage.

“Their position is that they want us to replace all the exited staff and that will be done before the end of the month and we have discussed this with them”, said Ademuyiwa.

The trend in delaying or outright rejection of emergency cases in  health facilities in Lagos led to the recent reminder by government that it will no longer hesitate to apply sanctions in line with the Federal Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 to facilities or care providers who flout the Law.

According to Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, “Health care providers hold it duty bound according to their professional oaths to first save lives by offering immediate attention to any patient requiring urgent critical and lifesaving supportive care before any other considerations.

“Such critical care should include where necessary all measures to stabilize the patient before onward referral to more equipped facilities. Simple procedures such as attempts to arrest bleeding or intravenous fluids could make all the difference to saving life”, said Abayomi

Further investigation by Healthstyleplus shows that the number of bed spaces in most of the government hospitals which are patronized by about 60% of Residents are inadequate to take rising cases of emergency.

According to the Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Jimi Sodipo, “there is indeed a critical shortage of bed space and manpower in the government hospitals even as health workers are committed to comply with the policy to always treat trauma patients in emergency.

“The state is supposed to have about 2000 registered doctors for instance, but it is doubtful it can boost of up to half of the number in practice as at October/November 2019 when we sent our findings to government”, said Sodipo.

“We would immediately need at least 600 doctors to fill the gap and meet the current demand” said Sodipo.

He told Healthstyleplus that since 2019, hardly would a month pass without a record of 3-5 health workers’ exiting the service with no replacement just as in 2019 alone, five health workers suffered stroke and mental illness as a result of work-induced stress.

(Watch out for the Report on “Why Lagos Hospitals Can’t Cope with Emergencies”)

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