Resident doctors issue 2-week fresh ultimatum to FG to meet demands

Resident doctors issue 2-week fresh ultimatum to FG to meet demands

Resident doctors in the country operating under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors,NARD, have issued July 19,2023 ultimatum to the federal government to meet their demands, saying failure would lead to industrial disharmony in the country.

The demands include immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund,MRTF, as contained in the approved 2023 budget; payment of all outstanding arrears owed our members including the hazard allowance and the skipping arrears of 2014-2016, and the arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wage, immediate release and implementation of the guidelines on one-for-one replacement of clinical staff to cushion the effect of the massive manpower shortage in various hospitals nationwide and discontinuation of downgrading of membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical colleges.

Others are immediate payment of all salary arrears, implementation of the CONMESS salary structure and new hazard allowance and domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund to members in state tertiary health Institutions nationwide and immediate implementation of minimum of 200% increment in the CONMESS salary structure and upward review of the associated allowances as requested in previous letters on the subject matter.

These were part of the resolutions taken at NARD’s Extra -Ordinary National Executive Council Meeting held virtually on Wednesday,5th July, 2023.

The resolutions were contained in a communique, obtained on Wednesday evening and signed by the association’s president, Dr Orji Emeka Innocent, Secretary General,Dr Chikezie Kelechi  and Publicity & Social Secretary,Dr Umar Musa, respectively.

“NEC calls on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical colleges as this is not obtainable in other parts of West Africa where these same certificates are issued.

“NEC demands the immediate payment of all Salary Arrears, implementation of the CONMESS salary structure and new Hazard Allowance and domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund to our members in the State Tertiary Health Institutions nationwide.

“NEC hereby wishes to further extend her already expired ultimatum issued to the government by 2 weeks with effect from today 5th July 2023.

“The NEC of NARD insist on the immediate implementation of minimum of 200% increment in the CONMESS salary structure and upward review of the associated allowances as requested in her previous letters on the subject matter, since the current economic realities in the country cannot justify the continued payment of CONMESS as it is at the moment or any increment below the 200% as demanded.

“For purposes of emphasis, at the expiration of this further extended ultimatum by 19th of July 2023, if all these demands are not met, we cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the Health Sector nationwide, “the communique read.

The organisation explained that the virtual Extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting (E-NEC) held on Wednesday, 5th July 2023,was “to appraise the level of implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Government on the 19th of May 2023 following the five-day warning strike embarked upon by the Association on the 17th of May 2023, as well as discuss other pressing issues bordering on the welfare of her members.”

The communique reads further: ” NEC observed with disappointment, that it is now seven weeks since the end of the five-day warning strike action embarked upon by the Association to press home her demands, and that the resolutions of the conciliatory meeting chaired by the then Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment were yet to be implemented, seven weeks after, despite the set time lines for their implementation.

“NEC expressed worry that the circular on one-for-one replacement of clinical staff who have exited the various tertiary hospitals across the country was yet to be released. NEC recalled that the conciliatory meeting agreed that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation would release the implementation guideline on or before 5th June 2023 for onward transmission to the Tertiary Hospitals for implementation. This has not happened till now.

“Unfortunately, Doctors and Nurses in these Tertiary Hospitals continue to break down and suffer the burnout effect, assaults and harassment consequent upon the severe manpower shortage occasioned by this.

“NEC also painfully observed that the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) was yet to be paid as agreed during the conciliatory meeting.

“NEC observed with dismay the nonpayment of the Skipping Arrears, several years after the repeated request for it to be paid.

“NEC observed with disappointment, the inability of the Government to upwardly review the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) in line with our letter to the Honourable Minister of Health dated 7th July 2022. NEC also observed that the parameters we used in arriving at a demand for minimum of 200% increase in CONMESS has significantly changed following the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant massive increase in fuel price and general cost of living. Using the current parameters, for us to be returned to the same expenditure level of CONMESS when it was implemented in 2014, an upward review to the tune of 550% is required.

“Our members now find it difficult to transport themselves to work and carry out other numerous responsibilities required of them as Medical Doctors because of these factors.

“NEC observed with distress the delay in the payment of the Arrears of the reviewed Hazard Allowance to some of our colleagues who were omitted in the initial payments made. This neglect by Government officials was considered unnecessary and unacceptable.

“NEC observed with dismay, the continued nonpayment of the Arrears of Consequential Adjustment of Minimum Wage to some of our members more than 2 years after the list was submitted to the Budget Office of the Federation by the affected hospitals through the Federal Ministry of Health.

“NEC observed with disappointment, the inability of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to come clean on the reason for the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians even after several attempts to seek this explanation.

 

“NEC observed with shock, the continued deplorable conditions of our members in the State Tertiary Health Institutions including Abia state, Imo state, Benue state, Nassarawa state, Kwara state, Bayelsa state, Ogun state and Federal Capital Territory, to mention but a few.”

NARD on the other way, expressed her profound gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President, Dr Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Mrs Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, Accountant General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretaries, Federal Ministries of Health, Finance, and Labour and Employment, respectively, on their unwavering supports to the realisation of its demands,  Vanguard reports

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