Since the beginning of the year, the management of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, have ‘short-changed’ their medical interns in the payment of their monthly remuneration, the students have said.
The graduate interns, who are not pleased with the development, responded by protesting for the past three weeks.
The affected medical interns include dieticians, radiographers, pharmacists, nurses, and physiotherapists.
According to the standard pay slip obtained by our correspondent, intern pharmacists are entitled to a monthly pay of N128, 000; nurses and dieticians should get N99,000; @ radiographer is expected to take N127, 000 and physiotherapists should get the same.
Medical interns in other hospitals across the country also confirmed this to our correspondent in separate interviews.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, understands that the interns have been getting ‘part-payments’ of their entitlements from January till date.
Folashade Hamzat, an intern pharmacist who narrated her ordeal to PREMIUM TIMES, said UCH authorities have failed to address their plight despite repeated appeals.
“All is not well with medical interns at UCH following the wicked actions of the management,” said Ms Hamzat.
“They have been deducting our salary since January and this is not happening in other hospitals. In January, we got N74,000, we got N81,000 for February. We were paid N39,000 in March and they paid N69,000 April. We are not happy with this because we are being cheated.
“Amidst of this, I was tested positive for COVID-19 and nothing from the authority to even appreciate our efforts. The reward for hardwork in UCH is reduction of one’s entitlement.”
Also, an intern physiotherapist, Ezekiel Andrew, said: “since the beginning of this year, salaries have been epileptic and it is a sad thing for us here.”
“They paid us January and February half payment towards the ending of March. We just received alerts for March and April earlier this week and what we got was not even up to half of salary.”
A nurse intern, who did not want to be named for fear of being victimised, told PREMIUM TIMES that authorities have shown no concern to their plights.
“They are not considering us. Our colleagues are not being treated like this in other hospitals. We are crying for help so that this cheating would stop.”
After repeatedly expressing their displeasures, the interns launched a hashtag, #PayUCHinterns on Twitter, yet no result.
After weeks of protests, the management of UCH in a letter dated April 26, to all heads of department “appealed to intern officers and contract staff in the Hospital for the shortfall in their monthly remunerations for the months of January, February and March, 2021.”
The management in the letter signed by its Director of Administration, S.O.Oladejo, said the shortfall “is as a result of the inadequate funds released for personnel remuneration in comparison with the actual number of Intern Officers and Contract Staff in the Hospital, thus making it impossible to fully pay up the remuneration of these categories of staff for the months of January-March, 2021.
“The Management deeply understands the discomfort that this brings to the concerned members of staff to which end, efforts are being intensified to ensure that adequate funds are released to complete the payment of these personnel for the said months and to avert the recurrence of this situation in the future.”
‘Not satisfied, threatened’
Meanwhile, the interns, PREMIUM TIMES learnt did not welcome the defence of the management as they continued with their agitation for full payments like their other colleagues in other hospitals across the country.
A meeting was later held with the management team on May 4 but this ended in a stalemate as the interns proceeded with their protests.
Rather than pacify the medical interns, UCH’s Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Adeyinka Ishola, who was “not pleased with their agitations” reportedly threatened the health workers with sanctions via a 13-minute audio message PREMIUM TIMES is yet to authenticate.
‘Why we are paying half salary’
PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday morning spoke with the spokesperson of the hospital, Toye Akinrinola, on why the interns are being denied their full salaries.
“The interns before now are not on IPPIS but the problem started when they got them enrolled on it like every federal government staff. The problem is that what the government is sending is not enough to cater for the interns.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that we are owing them. We will take every measure to ensure that we cater for their welfare. It is just a matter of time,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
Asked why the interns were ‘threatened’, he simply responded saying: “they are our children. We are appealing to them and we plead they understand.”
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