A total of 788 doctors were affected by the action announced by the state government yesterday, which declared the strike embarked upon by the doctors since April 16, 2012 illegal.
In a statement from the Office of the Head of Service yesterday, the government linked the sack of the doctors to their refusal to reply queries issued to them to explain why “they were absent from work without leave and without the due observance of the rules and regulations guiding strikes and industrial actions in the state’s public service.”
The statement disclosed that 316 of the affected doctors were working with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital while the remaining 472 were with other hospitals in the state. It added that the state government had employed 373 doctors to replace some of the disengaged doctors as recruitment continues.
The government said: “Resulting from the contemptible act of the medical doctors, LASUTH Board and HSC, the two bodies that appointed them in line with subsisting statutes, served those who were ‘absent without leave’ (AWOL) with queries,” while a “handful of them responded, majority of the doctors shunned the query.”
The statement, which was signed by Adesegun Ogunleye, said the strike “came as a rude shock to the state government since the leadership of the Medical Guild still met during the week preceding the illegal strike with top government officials in charge of health and establishment sectors.
“In order to ensure that the healthcare delivery service of the state continues to function for the benefit of the people, the state government has placed advertisement in some national dailies seeking applications from suitably qualified medical doctors and consultants/specialists desirous of working with the government and the response has been overwhelming.”
Ogunleye said the strike was illegal because the doctors only gave the state government 24 hours notice “as against the time-tested and statute-bound processes and procedures for declaration of industrial disputes.