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Federal Government Moves Against Doctors, To Ban Private Practice

The Federal Government has begun moves to stop doctors in public service from private practice.

The moves came on the heels of incessant strikes by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The federal government has also given approval to its agencies to start enforcing the ‘no work, no pay’ rule against civil servants that abandon work to embark on strike.

Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who briefed State House Correspondents alongside his Labour and Productivity counterpart, Chris Ngige, said these were the decisions of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said there was need for comprehensive job evaluation, hence, the committee set up will determine what exactly an individual should be paid in a way that salaries would be paid appropriately, across board, in the entire country.

He said the committee will look extensively into the issue to enable government resolve what the law of the states, and what the professional law states and make a proper recommendation to government.

The minister had last month directed chief medical directors and medical directors of federal hospitals to immediately engage the services of locum doctors to augment the services of consultants, National Youth Service Corps doctors and medical doctors on internship pending the resolution of the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors.

Resident doctors, the first line of medical professionals who attend to patients in teaching and some general hospitals, downed tools recently, nationwide, to protest salary shortfalls and cuts.

Adewole said these approvals were made based on the recommendations of a technical committee report that sought to review the country’s industrial relations, particularly in the public sector.

Adewole said: “For us in the health sector, the most important thing is the need to do comprehensive job evaluation. So, government has decided to set up a committee that would evaluate what exactly we do as individuals, how much should we be paid in a way that we can really pay appropriately across board through the entire country.

“Council also looked at the issue of residency training programme and decided that the training should last for a fixed time of seven years, after which individuals should exit from the programme, so that other people can come into the programme.

“Council has also decided to look into the issue of private practice by medical doctors in the public sector, and a committee has been set up to look extensively into that issue, because we want to resolve the issue of what the law of the land states and what the rule of professional ethics says.

“The law of the land does not allow any public officer to do anything other than farming; so that committee would make appropriate recommendation to government on this important issues which are of considerable interest to quite a number of Nigerians.”

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