Brain drain in the health sector is overstretching the few medical personnel left behind in government hospitals, says the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA. 

The NMA said aggrieved patients and relatives should, therefore, send their complaints through appropriate channels, rather than transferring their anger or inflicting injuries on the few medical practitioners still in the country.

These views were expressed in an interview by Lagos Zone Secretary of the NMA, Ime Okon.

“We don’t want to use the brain drain and other reasons as excuses not to give excellent services; that’s why we have complaint channels to keep health workers in check.

“We want to improve ourselves and be of the best standards for everybody because the system is there for everyone.

“Doctors too fall ill, nurses fall ill, and you don’t want to be a victim of a failed system. So we are trying to make it work for everybody.

“It could be my relative that’s sick and I am not on duty, if we have a system that works, it would work well for that person.

“It doesn’t have to be a ‘man-know-man’ thing; once it’s systemic, it will work for everybody,’’ Mrs Okon said.

She added that the use of appropriate channels to register misgivings about the discharge of duty by medical practitioners would contribute a lot to improve healthcare delivery.

Mrs Okon stressed that complaint boxes and phone numbers of Medical Directors and Heads of Nursing are placed at strategic locations within all public hospitals.

She added that using the complaint channels would yield quick response from hospitals’ management rather than resorting to attack of health workers or resorting to the use of social media to lay complaints.

“Complaints are signals that are treated with confidentiality. If you call and they don’t pick, it means they are busy; you can send a text message and they will call you back.

“NMA is following these complaints and we discover that most of them are frivolous.

“There’s a recent issue at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where somebody assaulted health workers and the management of the hospital decided to take up the case legally.

“The family is begging for an out-of-court settlement now and the healthcare workers are angry with the decision because people are trying and sweating to ensure the health system works,’’ Mrs Okon said.

NAN/Cynthia Akere

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