The Federal Government has instructed the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals to apply the ‘no work, no pay’ policy to members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors who are currently on strike.
Additionally, the government has directed these hospitals to maintain a comprehensive attendance record for resident doctors who express their willingness to work during this period.
A letter obtained by our correspondent on Thursday, dated August 1, 2023, was issued by the Federal Ministry of Health to all CMDs and MDs of Federal Tertiary Hospitals across the nation. The letter, titled “Re: Continuous Strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors: Implementation of the ‘No Work, No Pay’ Policy of the Federal Government,” was signed by Dr. Andrew Noah, the Director of Hospital Services.
The ongoing indefinite strike, initiated by NARD on July 26, 2023, is aimed at underscoring their demands. These demands include the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers, discontinuation of the downgrading of membership certificates issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges, prompt payment of salary arrears, execution of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, the establishment of a new hazard allowance, and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act.
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According to the government’s letter, the striking doctors have been accused of displaying insensitivity to the efforts made to resolve the issue through various conciliatory meetings involving the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, government stakeholders, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and the National Assembly.
The letter highlighted the Federal Ministry of Health’s decision to enforce the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy against the resident doctors, referring to a circular (Ref. No.58598/8.1/II/182) dated June 22, 2016.
The letter also urged hospitals to create and maintain an attendance register for resident doctors who are willing to continue working during the strike, with a monthly submission of the names of such doctors to the ministry.
In response to the directive, Dr. Kelechi Chikezie, the Secretary General of NARD, acknowledged the receipt of the letter and stated that NARD leadership will convene to discuss their course of action in light of this development. He noted that while this policy was not unexpected, NARD’s stance would be collectively determined by its leadership.