Association Gives Hospital 21-Day Ultimatum to Reinstate Sacked Doctors or Face Strike

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Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the management of the hospital to reinstate its 30 members sacked or face indefinite strike action.

The doctors’ ultimatum is contained in a statement signed by its President, Drs Amina Japheth, and Sesugh Iorfa and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Makurdi.

The doctors are also demanding the adoption of full implementation of the 2017 Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) as currently obtained in training institutions across the country.

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The ARD said the hospital management did not follow due process in sacking the doctors.

” The management has given over 30 doctors sack letters; have rescinded some letters and have also upheld others in a haphazard and subjective manner that does not follow the laws that regulate the service of resident doctors in the country.

” The training of resident doctors in Nigeria is regulated by the 2017 MRTA, which is very explicit on how a doctor should enter and leave residency training.

” The Act allows resident doctors to train and pass all examinations over a period of an eight and a half to nine years against the six years that the management of the BSUTH wants to impose on ARD members,” the statement said.

It also stated that the only body that had the right to recommend the exit of resident doctors from the residency programme was the National Postgraduate Medical College ( NPMCN).

The statement wondered where the management of the hospital derived its powers in sacking the members from the residency programme when the last batch of letters from the body recommending the exit of doctors was in March and none of its members was affected.

The doctors said that in spite of several entreaties to the hospital management and various other interventions by professional organisations including the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) the hospital management still remained adamant.

They regretted that the hospital was oblivious of the suffering of the people during such a health emergency gripping the world where other hospitals were recalling retired doctors to work, BSUTH was sacking resident doctors.

They, therefore, appealed to Gov Samuel Ortom to intervene for the sake of the suffering masses of the state, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When contacted, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr Terrumun Swende, said he acted on the recommendations of the board and had done nothing wrong.

According to him, the Act establishing the BSUTH provides only a six-year residency programme for doctors adding that the hospital is not answerable to the Federal Government and the MRTA.

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