The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) says the six years residency training of doctors in Nigeria is tenured and properly gazetted in the government scheme of service.
Dr Segun Olaopa, the President, University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan chapter, made this known in an interview with the Newsmen in Ibadan on Wednesday.
Olaopa said, “It is expedient to explain to the public that our six years residency training is part of the career progression of doctors”.
He spoke on the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by the resident doctors in all tertiary health institutions across the country.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had on Sept. 4 directed its members nationwide to embark on an indefinite strike to pressurise government to meet its demands.
The strike notice was signed by Dr John Onyebueze and Dr Aneke Emmanuel, the National President and Secretary, National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) respectively.
“Claims from some government quarters that resident doctors are not permanent staff and should not be included in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is not acceptable.
“Residency training is tenured and properly gazetted in the scheme of service in such that when you finish residency on a particular grade level, like CONMESS six, that level becomes your grade point of entry in the new appointment you are taking up.
“You will not be put on the grade level lower than the one you left.
“The issue of whether residency training is tenured or not should, therefore, not affect our being included on the IPPIS.
“Their pension fund administrator can be transferred and the pension scheme continues to be administered further.
“Residency is a conduit. Immediately you finish residency, you become a specialist and the Federal Government is supposed to deploy them to government-owned tertiary health institutions where they are needed, Olaopa said.
According to him, Federal Government should be able to identify where services of specialists are needed and should deploy them there.
“We are not supposed to wait to get posting for one day before we get placements, but the attitude of our leadership in the country is not making that it possible,” he said.
Olaopa said that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has a long list of issues being negotiated with the government since 2013.
He said that the doctors were not expecting government to solve all the issues immediately, but should address the most important issues relating to their welfare.
The ARD president said that some of the cogent issues affecting their welfare were of utmost importance and if resolved immediately, the strike would be called off.
He said that they were pertinent issues to the doctors and that if addressed today, the strike would be suspended.
“Payment of the shortfalls in our salaries needs to be resolved immediately. Government has been paying fragments of salaries to us in the past.
“Let them pay the shortfalls now and we move on. All allied health workers have been paid full salaries till the end of August, but only resident doctors have been left out.
“The National Health Act should also be fully implemented because of its universal health coverage.
“The Act says that one per cent of consolidated fund should be allocated for patients coming for emergency treatment so that they can be attended to free of charge.
“We have been requesting for the implementation of Act since 2014, but government has not heeded.
“The IPPIS issue, pension of our staff; the provision of adequate facilities and conducive atmosphere for work are also priority areas,” he said.
Olaopa further said that the strike was a full-blown one, adding that a committee has been set up to ensure full compliance of the strike in various departments in UCH.