The Federal Government may have call the bluff of the striking resident doctors, as Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has directed that they should be replaced.
They are to be replaced with others from the pool of applicants for the training programs in the various disciplines, the minister said.
The minister issued the stem directive to Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and Medical Director (MDs) of Federal Government Tertiary Health Institutions to fill the vacancies created by Resident Doctors who have abandoned their training programme by refusing to report for work.
The directive, according to a statement issued by Mrs.Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations, ministry of Health, was contained in a circular signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Amina Shamaki and sent to the CMDs and MDs of the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions.
The minister charged the CMDs and MDs to ensure immediate compliance to the directive in order not to create ominous gap in training with attendant disruption of health care delivery in your facility.
It was however not clear if the resident doctors have commenced the nationwide strike action as the leadership of the resident doctors, it was learnt were at the National Assembly to honour the invitation of the House of Representatives committee on Health at the time the directive was issued.
Though, resident doctors are on strike in some states if the federation.
The Circular read as follows:
“It has come to the notice of the Management of the Ministry that some Resident Doctors in your establishment have voluntarily withdrawn from the Residency Training Program by refusing to report for training without authorization. Public Service Rule, PSR 030402 (e) is relevant. This is in spite of the ongoing negotiations on their demands put forward by the representatives of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association.
“In view of this development, you are hereby directed to replace all the Doctors that have withdrawn their services, with others from the pool of applicants for the training programs in the various disciplines in order not to create ominous gap in training with attendant disruption of health care delivery in your facility.
“Meanwhile, the Ministry is working with the panel on the review of the Residency Training Program in Nigeria, led by Professor Wole Atoyebi, the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College, to fast-track the development of a comprehensive blueprint for postgraduate training of doctors in the country.
“Please, ensure immediate compliance.”
NARD President, Dr Muhammad Askira, had recently explained that after critical analysis of issues affecting NARD at an “extra-ordinary National Executive Council, (NEC), meeting, the NEC observed that there were some processes still on-going in resolving the impasse between government and the doctors, and that the efforts so far made by government had not yet met the doctors’ demands.”
NARD president stated that there were still some issues yet to be attended to by government, adding that, they include “resident doctors who work in states of the country that were yet to be paid their salaries; skipping and all accrued arrears for doctors yet to be implemented in most hospitals in the country; unpaid December salaries of doctors in some federal hospitals, and, house officers’ entry steps have not been effected.