By Ola Ajayi
The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria is battle ready with the Federal Government following the alleged failure of the government to implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale it reached with the doctors in September last year.
The doctors had vowed to resist the attempt by the government to make their take-home pay in tandem with that of health workers and civil servants in the country.
Making the position of the association known in Ibadan yesterday, its National President, Dr. Olayinka Atilola said they began to smell a rat when government suddenly changed the implementation date of the agreement to 1 January, this year.
He expressed disappointment that in December 2009, the FG signed a separate agreement with the health workers, which stamped out the relativity in their salary scales. This, he said, may cause a major crisis in the health sector this year.
He argued that since the Federal Executive Council had approved doctorsâ€™ CONMESS, its implementation should be automatic and should not be hinged on the signing of the budget.
After the expiration of the ultimatum given to the FG in September last year, it noted that the government quickly agreed to the demands made by the resident doctors.
But to the chagrin of the doctors, the FG reneged on this agreement to pay the new salary scale and paid his members the old salary last month, a move he described as unacceptable.
He said, â€œit was a gentleman agreement and we agreed. But, our reservation is that if the agreement between the FG and Academic Staff Union of Universities could take immediate effect why was NARDâ€™s shifted forward?
Faults Yar’Adua on medical treatment abroad
He said it remained a moral burden on the President of a country to seek medical treatment in a foreign country irrespective of his health condition. If the president could do this, he wondered what would happen to other 139,999 million people, especially those that lacked financial capability to do so.
NARD warned that it was a peace-loving association and that it would continue to play a paramount role in the emancipation of Nigeria health sector. â€œBut, if they treat us with impunity, we shall react with impunityâ€, it noted, adding that since government had breached the agreement with effrontery, the association too should not be held responsible if it reacted against the alleged insincerity of government.