Some aggrieved nurses at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, and the management have disagreed over issues bordering on negligence, poor incentives and security lapses, among others, in the hospital.
The aggrieved nurses said the hospital was paying lip service to their safety and welfare.
They said on many occasions they had been attacked or molested by the mentally sick patients, the management looked the other way, leaving them to bear the expenses on their own.
The nurses urged the Federal Government to intervene in the matter in order to address their safety, work tools and incentives issues.
They lamented that many of them had been operating under the atmosphere of fear because of the conditions under which they work.
A nurse, who craved anonymity, told PUNCH Metro that they had been constantly attacked by patients because of loose security.
She said, “Many avoidable incidents are going on here. Most of our patients do not realise that they are mentally sick and wonder why their relatives bring them for admission.
“As a result, they often go aggressive and fight us as if we are the causes of their problems.”
She said many of such incidents had taken place in the hospital leaving many nurses seriously wounded while some had been beaten into a stupor.
She said when the incidents continued unabated without the management addressing the unpleasant situation, some nurses, who could not bear the situation had to resign while some decided to go abroad to continue their vocation there.
Another nurse, who declined to give her name because of fear of victimisation, said during a recent incident, a patient attacked some nurses including a pregnant one with a broken bulb.
She said the nurses were left to take care of themselves because the management argued that they were being paid hazard allowances.
She said the allowances paid to them was not worth the danger they were exposed to on a daily basis.
She said, “The most unfortunate thing is that nurses who stay 24 hours with patients, are the ones prone to this hazard yet they are paid the same N5, 000 allowances with people who have no contacts with the patients such as admin staff, pharmacists and other workers.
“Are we (nurses) going to continue to die in silence and let patients kill all of us before government provides standard equipment?”
Reacting to the incident, Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Rahman Lawal, said the allegations were false.
He admitted that there was a particular occasion some nurses were attacked by a patient who broke loose, but that the hospital offset the medical bills of the victims.
Lawal said one of them even sent a text message thanking him for the hospital’s role in her treatment.
The MD, however, placed the blame at the door of the aggrieved nurses, saying on the day in question, all of them abandoned their duty post for nursing station, where the patient had the opportunity of attacking them.
“Those complaining should know that if they have grievance with the management or the government, such cannot be ventilated through the media channel. They know the channel to make representation to the government,” Lawal said.
The medical director said the hospital’s security was not loose, stressing that the hospital had a central pool of crisis intervention team.
On the lighting system in the hospital, he said they usually switched on their generator at 6.30pm and turned it off at 12am.
He said, “We are in the process of getting a dedicated line from Power Holding Company of Nigeria. We also have well organised inverters in all the halls except one and that will be ready early next year. For communication, we have functional intercom system.”