The standoff between the Lagos State government and health practitioners might be at an end as the state Governor Babatunde Fashola, in the first show of real compromise, announced on Wednesday that he would be willing to recall the 788 sacked doctors if advised to do so by appropriate authorities.
Last month the state government’s administration sacked hundreds of doctors who refused to answer queries after they embarked on a warning strike over salary payments. The decision has drawn both criticism and concern; it also threatens the welfare of Lagos residents already saddled with an ailing health sector.
In an interview with Murhi Intenational Television monitored in Lagos, Fashola said he lacked the power to either sack or reinstate the doctors unilaterally.
“If I receive advice that I can do so, I probably would. The problem there is that the law does not give me a role to play except in appointment.
The doctors have remained largely unapologetic about the strike even after they were sacked by their employees. Instead, they dug deep demanding the state implement CONMESS and reverse the sack decision.
They were further joined by doctors in Federal Government hospitals who embarked on a sympathy strike on Friday and described the sacking of the striking doctors and the state’s decision to hire replacement doctors as heavy handed and archaic.
Governor Fashola is still hopeful of a compromise, adding that he believes if both parties “genuinely seek a solution, there will be away out”.
Fashola insisted, however, that the power to fire or hire doctors in state hospitals is not his, but rather the responsibility of the state health board.
“The law does not give the governor any role to play in that process except the appointment of the chairman and members of the board, on the recommendation of the commissioner for health,” adding that “this is not the Fashola show”.
The governor said he is willing to “promote a meeting of the minds” but explains that compromise must come from both sides of the divide.