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FMC patients in trouble By Chinasa Ogbonna

There appears to be no respite for patients at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri as resident doctors in the centre have paid deaf ears to calls for them to return to work.

Briefing newsmen recently, the FMC Owerri Medical Director, Dr. (Mrs) Angela Uwakwem, said that the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the centre declared the strike on September 3 “for no genuine reasons”.

She claimed that all the issues the doctors were agitating for had been handled by the hospital management board.

According to her, the centre had not deviated from the stipulated terms and conditions for the recruitment of resident doctors which is to the knowledge of the striking doctors.

She said that ARD declared the strike the same day they gave management their letter of complaint without waiting to hear from the management.

Dr. Uwakwem described the doctors as people undergoing a course and so cannot be charting their course by themselves.

On the issue of exit time for them from West African and national post-graduate Exams, the medical director explained that three attempts each, totaling six, had been stipulated in their appointment letters, failure of which the doctor would exit.

The doctors are, however, asking for four attempts each, totaling eight.

She said that the alleged failure to pay them outstanding seven percent arrears of salaries should not have arisen as they had an agreement that management would pay instalmentally and that N10 million had been paid in two instalments.

She said that the hospital intends to pay the balance with their internally generated revenue.

She, however, stated that the doctors’ August salaries were paid on September 4.

Dr. Uwakwem stressed that the hospital has it as a duty to ensure that it produces disciplined doctors and called on the striking resident doctors to allow the hospital to mentor, guide and mould them in character and learning.

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