Greener Pasture: Lamentations From The United Kingdom
OpenLife Nigeria reports that there are lamentations by Nigerian health practitioners in the United Kingdom.
Doctors recruited from Nigeria to work in the United Kingdom hospitals have lamented that they are being exploited.
The doctors believe they are being overworked and fear they may put their patients’ health at risk.
This is according to a BBC investigation published on its website on Tuesday.
The investigation showed evidence of how a British healthcare company recruit doctors from Nigeria to work in private hospitals under conditions not allowed in the National Health Service.
One of the doctors who spoke with BBC, Augustine Enekwechi, a Nigerian doctor, who worked at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital in 2021, said he was approached by NES Healthcare, a private company that specialises in employing doctors from overseas, and was offered visa sponsorship and a potential job.
The doctor said he failed to notice that the NES contract opted him out of the law that protects UK workers from excessive working hours and left him vulnerable to a range of salary deductions.
Enekwechi added that his hours were extreme – on-call 24 hours a day for a week at a time – and that he was unable to leave the hospital grounds. He says working there felt like being in “a prison”.
“I knew that working tired puts the patients at risk and puts myself also at risk, as well for litigation,” he says. “I felt powerless… helpless, you know, constant stress and thinking something could go wrong,” BBC quoted him as saying.
The British Medical Association, however, described the situation as “shocking” and say the sector needs to be in line with the NHS working practices.
Another doctor, Dr. Femi Johnson, who worked at another hospital said he was also expected to work 14 to 16-hour days and then be on call overnight.
“I was burnt out,” he says. “I was tired, I needed sleep. It’s not humanly possible to do that every day for seven days.”
Johnson added that when he needed a break, the NES was entitled to deduct money from his salary to cover the cost of finding a replacement doctor.
“In situations like that, I always make that internal discussion with my inner self – ‘Femi are you doing right by yourself and are you doing right by the patient?’” he told BBC. “Unfortunately, I haven’t always been able to answer that question.”
The BMA and the front line lobbying group the Doctors’ Association has given the BBC’s File on 4 and Newsnight exclusive access to the findings of a questionnaire put to 188 Resident Medical Officers. Most of the doctors were employed by NES but some were with other employers.
Reacting, a social media commentator simply identified as Thy_Soul said:
“Deal with it. Nigeria is not good & you left, now UK is overworking you. I keep telling people…. ignorance & lack of exposure is when you feel anywhere outside Nigeria is better. Every country have their own issues too.
Some Nigerians now sleep in libraries, train stations… etc cos they don’t have a home while they had a good place to lay their heads when in Nigeria. Alot are not making it in Nigeria simply because they don’t believe in her. What you don’t beleive in won’t work for you no matter how hard you try. Remember, some of the richest black people on earth are in Nigeria & they made their money in Nigeria. If all they thought was to run away, probably they won’t be where they are today.
Stop cursing or speaking ill of your country. A cursed govt will only run the country terribly. A terribly ruined country is that country you will live in & continue to wail courtesy of your curse.It is well.
Ola Akinfe, another social media influencer agreed with The Soul saying “
I partly agree with you. The reason I didn’t fully agree with you is because the people that you look up to as role models (and support politically) are the enemies of the country because they don’t believe in the country’s healthcare system. They patronize London hospitals, UK education system and the real estate, starving our economies of the needed cash in favor of the UK. I am talking of Buhari, Tinubu and all of the current political elites.
Having said that, I must mention that you are right in your assessment that ignorance and lack of exposure is part of the problem affecting our people. I must also add that some Nigerian doctors are SELFISH! I say this without any apologies! In the United States for example, medical students graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans which take them years to pay off. Meanwhile, in Nigeria where public education is not as expensive, medical school graduates can apply for US visa, get to the US and fulfill the country’s requirements and start practicing without incurring humongous amount of loans as their American counterparts. But such doctors are still going to complain that Nigeria didn’t favor them. I knew the child of a former NITEL executive who always complained about how bad Nigeria is but he was sponsored with corrupt money from NITEL to get foreign education. There are lots of them like that. I don’t feel pity for these doctors because they were warned and reminded of the Windrush Generation last year when the UK threw her door open to them but they ignored the warning,” he stated.