Nigerian resident doctors vows to paralyse government hospitals

Nigerian resident doctors vows to paralyse government hospitals

Resident doctors in Nigeria have threatened to paralyze activities in public health institutions if the Federal Government fails to respond to their demands in the next two weeks.

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) gave the ultimatum at the end of its national executive council (NEC) meeting on Saturday in Ogun State, South Western Nigeria.

The federal government, according to the Resident Doctors, has refused to engage in meaningful negotiations with the association or take concrete action on the “upward review” of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS).

In a communique released after the meeting, the association denounced the proposal to require doctors and dentists to work for five years in the country before moving abroad.

The association, in their series of demands, calls for immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the government-owned hospitals, infrastructural development in hospitals without further delay while insisting on at least 15% budgetary allocation to health subsequently.

“NEC observed that despite several engagements by NARD with the government on the need to upwardly review the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) which was last reviewed over ten years ago, Government has neither called NARD to the negotiation table nor taken any tangible step in addressing the issue,” the communiqué reads.

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“This is against the background of the dwindling economic situation in the country, the serial abysmal decline in the value of the naira, the imminent removal of fuel subsidy, and the consequent damaging effect on the cost of living in the country.

“NEC recalled that there have been previous ultimatums issued to the government by NARD on account of this problem of the review of the CONMESS salary structure.

“NEC also reiterated that the previous collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on
CONMESS stated clearly that the salary structure would be due for review after five
years, but this has not been done since the implementation in 2014, though the approval was given in 2009.

“NEC demands an immediate increment in the CONMESS salary structure to the tune
of 200% of the current gross salary of doctors in addition to the new allowances
included in the letter written by NARD to the honourable minister of health on the 7th of July 2022 for the review of CONMESS.

“NEC demands immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and complete abolishment of bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of
doctors who leave the system.

“NEC demands immediate infrastructural development in our various hospitals without further delay and insists on at least 15% budgetary allocation to health subsequently.

“NEC resolved to issue the government a two-week ultimatum beginning today, 29th
April 2023, to resolve all these demands, following the expiration of which on the 13th May 2023, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the sector nationwide.”

Meanwhile the Federal Government has commenced moves to avert the planned strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors by initiating high level discussions with the doctors.

Recall that the association had on January 11, 2023, issued a strike warning in a letter submitted to the Health minister on Monday, January 9, 2023.

It said it would kick-start processes that would lead to industrial disharmony if lingering issues were not addressed before its NEC meeting scheduled for January 24 to 28, 2023. The plan to go on strike was later cancelled after a proper review by its National Executive Council.

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