Lagos Govt urges striking doctors to return to work

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state

The Lagos State Government has urged striking doctors under its employment to suspend their three days warning strike and return to work.

Earlier, on Monday, doctors working for the government had declared a three-day warning strike over safety and welfare issues.

Mr Gbenga Omotoso, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy pleaded on Monday night that the doctors return to work.

Omotoso said that the call became necessary after a joint meeting between the State Commissioners for Health; Establishments, Training and Pensions, and Head of Service with the Medical Guild, Association of Resident Doctors, and relevant stakeholders on the warning strike.

He noted that the state government was disappointed at the warning strike embarked upon by the Guild.

According to him, most issues raised by the Guild had been resolved, while unresolved issues were still being deliberated upon.

On some issues raised by the Guild, Omotoso said that the state was currently rotating health workers engaged in providing care at its isolation facilities.

He added that health workers were not being unceremoniously dismissed from the isolation centres, but returned to their primary posting to reduce fatigue and burn out among them.

“Mr Governor has been extremely supportive of health workers being mindful of the extreme sacrifices that healthcare professionals are demonstrating in the COVID-19 response,” he said.

Whilst on the non-payment of COVID-19 allowances for May and June, Omotoso said that the state government started paying extra special COVID-19 allowances for frontline workers who were involved directly with the state COVID-19 response.

“This was put in place before any other state in the country, with payments as high as N672,000 per month, in addition to their normal remuneration packages for each cadre.

“It represents financial incentives over and above that paid by their federal counterparts,” he said.

On the Skipping Policy that places federal healthcare workers a Grade Level above their state counterparts, Omotoso said the policy was responsible for the disparity in the salary of state and federal doctors.

“It is important to note that this is not in conformity with the Scheme of Service agreed by the National Council of Establishment and is a subject of litigation in the Federal Court of Appeal. Therefore, the State Government cannot implement such a policy until the judgment is delivered,” he said.

Omotoso maintained that a meeting had been scheduled with officials of the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) to explore ways of reducing the tax burden on healthcare workers.

He noted that the state government would fast track the testing of health workers weekly, adding that emergency testing of health workers would also be arranged when necessary.

He noted that all frontline health workers in isolation centres had been insured by a consortium of insurance companies, adding all civil servants in the state, including all health workers, had also been insured by LASACO.

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