> Private Hospitals Feast On Patients As FMC Also Down Tools
Three weeks after doctors and staff of the Imo State Specialist Hospital, Umuguma, Owerri embarked on indefinite strike action, the hospital has continued to be a shadow of itself.
The staff of the hospital had last three weeks down tooled following the non payment of their salaries running into 10 months by the state government.
When 247ureports.com visited the hospital, the gates were still under lock and key while the hospital ambulances were kept outside the main gate as there were no gate men to open for them.
It was gathered that unidentified corpses in the hospital morgue were left to decompose and rot away with human skeletons left at most corners of the hospital. This is as no member of the staff was on hand to attend to them.
The strike came as Governor Rochas Okorocha announced yesterday, Tuesday, that his governmen was not owing any worker in the state, as he announced N12, 000 and N10,000 Christmas Packages for all civil servants and security agents respectively in the state.
Some of the people around the hospital gate who claimed to be staff of the hospital, told 247ureports.com that the doctors and nurses were being owed 10 months while non medical staff were being owed eight months.
They accused the governor of being very insincere to the people of the state.
According to them, Governor Okorocha decided not to pay them for their refusal to accept the concessioning of the hospital to a Muslim company, Lantel Solutions Limited.
Meanwhile, patients have been passing through hard times in Imo State following the strike action by the Specialist Hospital.
This is even made worse as doctors of the Federal Medical Centre(FMC), Owerri Monday joined other centres nationwide on industrial action.
Expectedly, this has led to private hospitals in the state, especially in Owerri the state capital, to with witness an upsurge in the number of patients in their hospitals with an attendant increase in the amount of money charged by the hospitals.
A visit by 247ureports.com to some private hospitals in Owerri, showed that cues of patients have increased astronomically, while patients were surcharged by about 200 to 300 percent before they could see a doctor.
For instance, at Umezuruike Hospital, Owerri, patients waiting to a doctor must pay N1,500 for emergency patient’s personal card as against the usual N500 they were charging, while patients hoping to obtain the N500 card would have to stay for up to hours before they could be listened to and see the doctor.
Also, at Akaraugo Hospital, Ikenegbu and Central Medical Centre, opposite Nigeria Prisons, Owerri, first time patients were asked to pay N3,000 for personal card as against the usual N1,000 before they could be attended to by any doctor.