The Federal Government has directed Chief Medical Directors of Federal Hospitals to immediately engage the services of locum doctors, as resident doctors continue with their strike.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, gave the directive in order to augment the services of consultants, pending the resolution of the on-going strike by resident doctors.
The Minister had earlier approved the use of health facilities of Armed forces, Police and Federal Road Safety in ensuring continuous provision of health care services in the Federal Hospitals.
A statement by Mrs Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations in the ministry said the directive was contained in a circular dated Sept. 5, addressed to all CMDs/MDs of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions across the country.
According to the minister, the directive is an attempt by the government to reduce the increased work load of consultants, NYSC doctors and House Officers, thereby preventing reduction in quality of service delivery to patients.
“This new directive was to further provide additional support for the Federal Government hospitals, to strengthen service delivery.
“The government is committed to fulfilling the mandate of providing health for its citizens no matter the circumstances we find ourselves,” Adewole said.
The Federal Government had expressed shock and disappointment over the sudden strike of resident doctors and described it as rascality.
“This is an industrial rascality and the trade unions must fashion out ways of ensuring that their members keep to collective agreements,‘’ labour and employment minister Chris Ngige advised on Tuesday.
He is irked that the strike kicked-off after the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) reached an agreement on issues in dispute.
Ngige, said that government was shocked by the sudden U-turn of the association after it reached a an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health on its six-point demand.
Ngige said that the doctors reneged on an a agreement with detailed timelines for implementation.
“NARD signed Collective Bargaining Agreement and less than 48 hours after, they embarked on strike. This is a breach of the law.
“Workers should not breach the law of the land because the law protects them more than the employers.’’
He said that it was an issue the labour centres should address because where a “person’s rights stop, is where another man’s right start. Your right cannot be absolute.’’
The minister further said that with the powers conferred on him by the Trade Dispute Act 2004, has apprehended the ongoing strike by NARD.
He added that consequently, the meeting between NARD and the government earlier scheduled for November 2, 2017, will now be convened on Sept. 6, 2017 by 12.30p.m at the Conference Room of the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment.
“All stakeholders are implored to attend this crucial conciliation meeting.
“The health and well-being of Nigerians are cardinal to President Buhari’s administration. Hence, every measure necessary shall be taken to restore normalcy,” he said.