Normalcy has returned to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, Lagos, following the suspension of the warning strike called by the hospital's branch of the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, over claims of excessive taxation of its members by the Lagos state government.
Doctors under the aegis of the LUTH- ARD withdrew their services for three days to protest deductions from their tax refunds arising from recommendations of the Lagos state tax law.
When Vanguard visited the health institution Saturday, there was calm and although the outpatient clinics were closed, healthcare personnel including doctors, senior medical consultants and nurses were attending patients in the wards while the Accident and Emergency unit was fully operational.
File photo: Deserted corridor leading to the entrance of a main wing of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, in Lagos during a recent strike action.
Spokesperson of the LUTH- ARD was not available to comment, but it was gathered that the outcome of a meeting between executives of the LUTH -ARD and the officials of the Lagos state Tax Revenue office was fruitful.
A source at the LUTH -ARD office disclosed to our reporter that at the meeting, held yesterday, representatives of Tax Revenue office pleaded for more time to resolve the outstanding issues even as further meetings between the two parties are expected to provide clarifications and better understanding on all parts such that a future strikes would not come to pass.
Reacting to the development, LUTH Public Relations Officer, Mrs Hope Nwawolo, said the strike was regrettable even though the tertiary health institution remained functional during the doctors' strike, and there was no mass discharge of patients, except for those who requested to go home.
She argued that hospital management responded promptly and adequately to the situation while measures were put in place measures to minimize the effect of the strike action on patient care.
"Patients on admission were catered for and no one was discharged. We even took on some patients with bad cases. We took on bad cases such as victims of a road traffic accident at Ojuelegba in which a fuel tanker ran into a commercial bus who were rushed to LUTH and were taken in at the Accident & Emergency which remained fully functional," she stated.
In a statement, Nwawolo said: "Management has made available to the Association as well as all members of staff, copies of the Law governing taxation as well as a publication of the Lagos State Government guiding individuals on how to compute taxes payable. Every individual residing in Lagos State is therefore in a position to compute tax due on his/her income personally. Management has assured, in line with the extant law, that if any member of staff is able to show that s/he has been excessively taxed, there is legal provision for a refund."
She explained that the role of the hospital management is essentially to comply with the law, make tax deductions and forward same to the lawful authority in Lagos State. "It is hoped that further meetings with the Association and officials of the Tax Office will provide clarifications and better understanding on all parts.