A member of Association of Resident Doctors at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, who is one of the 230 doctors that have not been paid in the hospital, has said it has been very difficult for him and others to survive.
Before now, the doctors were paid on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform but it was later changed to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
According to him, when the exercise was conducted in 2019, about 40 doctors were left behind and newly employed doctors were not captured by the IPPIS.
He said these persons, said to be over 230 doctors, have not been captured and that it results in a lot of delay in the payment of their salaries.
This, he said, has made survival taxing for the affected doctors who cannot take up any other job with their primary responsibility of providing health care.
He said other workers in the hospital such as house officers and members of the Joint Health Sector Unions have not been paid but they have been very silent about the issue.
“We want them to simply move all doctors to IPPIS. They should pay us our January and February salary arrears. That is the real reason we went on strike. There are some civil service workers who stay at home during this pandemic. They don't go to work and they get paid but we are at the fore of this struggle, we go to work and they expect us to work maximally, take our calls, do everything and they don't pay us. We have families, we are not ghost workers
“It has not been easy, there are bills to pay, school fees and all. Two months is not a joke. If it were to be other staff, they might have coped well, typically doctors don't usually have side hustles because there is no time. Non-doctors will survive, probably because they don't run shift and they might have side hustles.
“For doctors, it is not easy that we combine our job with any other jobs. Most doctors are dependent on salaries alone. When the salary shut down, how do they expect us to survive?
“In UCH, some doctors resumed in 2019, the IPPIS came and captured some people while some people were not captured, about 40. They recruited some people in 2020 again, so there were more doctors and since that 2019, IPPIS has not come for capturing which we believe might be political. The management keeps saying they have called IPPIS, and all.
“The new staff members were captured under GIFMIS, the federal government has been saying they will shut down GIFMIS, that the management should find a way to move their staff to IPPIS.
“As at November, 2020, it was believed that the GIFMIS has been shut down so we were not paid for November and December but after end of December, we got paid the two salaries. Now, January has gone, we have not been paid. Other staff on IPPIS, they have been paid for January and even February, nothing stops their salaries.
“The doctors not on that scheme experience delay in payment of salaries: this includes medical officers, resident doctors. This is over 230 doctors that are not moved to IPPIS, this means over 230 doctors have not been paid their salaries. There are some sets of persons again: house officers, not being paid, that is a national thing though. The National association of resident doctors take care of those ones.
“Though 19 centres have been paid but we were told that UCH did not release the list of the house officers on time, so they have not paid house officers in UCH. The association has met with the management, to talk to them about it, today they will say its network problem, at other times, they will claim they have scanned the document, expecting Federal Government to reply.
“It's been going on like that so we called for an AGM, there we decided to go for a five-day warning strike. The five-day warning strike commenced on Monday and it is to last till Friday. We are to resume 8am on Saturday (tomorrow). By the time we resume on Saturday, we will call for another congress and see if there have been any developments so far because we went on strike for three reasons: IPPIS Capturing: if IPPIS is running after ASUU to capture them by force, why are we the ones running after IPPIS to capture us? Is it that the hospital is not calling for IPPIS?
“Note that GIFMIS mode of operation was what made Federal Government to scrap it, the hospital will send the names of doctors to the FG and they pay but the Federal government realised that most hospitals use that to make money for themselves; they put different names there, they can copy your name twice, because there is no proper verification for GIFMIS, Federal Government felt that they were being cheated that way.
“In the past, Federal Government had tried to close down GIFMIS but the hospital management, not UCH alone, will frustrate the efforts of the FG on that especially with agitations.
“Back to the issue of capturing, in UCH, it is not only doctors that are affected, but we have the large numbers, there are some non-medicals, that is the JOHESU, they are also affected but those ones are more silent about it. Some people felt the management wanted to make money out of it, maybe that's why they are not bringing their staff to IPPIS.
“There is another reason for agitation, Medical Residency Training Fund, it's for research studies carried out by doctors or to finance furthering our course. Before now the fund goes to the hospital, it is possible someone retires and never gets the fund so they started paying to individual accounts. If IPPIS does not come to capture us before this, we will pay our cost of residency, update course from our pockets.
“This is part of the benefits other doctors in other states have been enjoying. The National Association of Resident Doctors made them to start paying individual last year. Some other state hospitals are getting it very well like the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. Medical Residency Training Fund might be paid next month, it is because of this that we are renewing our agitation.”
The Punch had earlier reported how the Association of Resident Doctors at the University College Hospital, Ibadan commenced a five-day warning strike to protest the non-payment of two months salary arrears for 370 doctors in the hospital.
The President of the Resident Doctors in UCH, Zakariyah Temitope Hussain, said it’s been a tough experience for doctors working without pay.
Highlighting some of the demands of the doctors, Hussain said “Some of our doctors have not been paid salaries for January and February 2021.
“Also, about 230 of our members have not been captured on the Federal Government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, and they have been waiting to be captured for over a year now. This means that their salary becomes irregular.
“House Officers are owed two months salary arrears, some resident doctors and medical officers are being owed two months salary arrears, as well.
“It’s been tough. You know the kind of work we do; you need a lot of energy to do this work, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just imagine someone not being paid under these circumstances," he said.
The ARD president said the warning strike will end at 8 am on Saturday, March 20.
“Once the warning strike ends, we will call our members to reveal whatever progress we have made, if any but for now, emergency services are open for patients,” he said.