FG bans public hospital doctors from private practice

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has de­clared its resolve to en­force the ban on private prac­tice by doctors on government payroll.

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

FEC also directed feder­al agencies to enforce the “no work, no pay” rule against civil servants who abandon work to embark on strike.

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.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, alongside his La­bour and Employment counter­part, Dr. Chris Ngige, briefed State House Correspondents on these decisions reached dur­ing the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adewole said that “for us in the health sector, the most im­portant 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 say.

“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 these impor­tant issues which is of consider­able interest to quite a number of Nigerians.

“In addition to that, we will also look at the Yayale Ahmed Report which tried to look into the relationship between pro­fessional groups in the health sector, and the office of the SGF has been mandated to for­ward a white paper on the Yay­ale Ahmed Report to the FEC so that once and for all, govern­ment can restore harmony to the health sector.”

Adewole also briefed the FEC on public health challeng­es such as the recent outbreaks of Lassa Fever, Cholera, Yellow Fever and the latest suspected Monkey Pox, saying that fur­ther tests are ongoing in Sene­gal to confirm if what is spread­ing across the country (33 cases recorded) are actually monkey pox.

According to him, “we have recorded 33 suspected cases in all from Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River States.

“What is particularly signif­icant is that many of the cases so reported do not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox, but we are trying to con­firm before the end of today or early tomorrow, exactly what we are dealing with, if it is it truly monkey pox. But what is obvi­ous is that we have a disease that is close to the pox family.”

Nonetheless, he advised Ni­gerians not to panic but to ob­serve basic hygiene practices like regular washing of hands, avoiding contact with dead an­imals, maintaining clean envi­ronment and for health work­ers to maintain “barrier nursing’ while managing suspected cas­es.

On the “no work, no pay” law, Ngige said that the 2016 technical report emphasised the need to implement it because it is neither a rule nor a policy, but a law captured in Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act of the Federation.

“It says that workers have a right to disengage from an em­ployer if there is a breakdown in discussions or negotiation. But for the period that the worker does so, the employer should not pay and those periods are to be counted as non-pension­able times in the period of work.

The FEC further vowed to check workers who “are perma­nently doing union activities, as they are presidents of trade un­ions for life and they sit tight.”

He disclosed that the La­bour Ministry was directed to fish out the unions that don’t have constitutions with pre­scribed time limits for their elected officers, as such un­ions should be made to com­ply with the law, so that people can be elected to serve out their terms and other people will take their places.

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