By John Ikani
The Federal Government has taken measures to prevent senior doctors under the auspices of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MEDCAN) from joining the ongoing industrial action by the resident doctors.
MEDCAN is a group of senior doctors, who are medical consultants that teach and guide the resident doctors in their professional operation towards becoming specialists and consultants in their area of specialisation.
This is as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has directed the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission to halt the movement of consultants from CONMESS to CONUAS salary scale.
MEDCAN had on July 26, 2021, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to correct the unwarranted removal of the consultants from CONMESS to CONUAS salary scale by their employing universities, who had earlier placed them on CONMESS upon appointment about 10 years ago.
The letter which moved them to CONUAS came through a circular by the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to the Accountant General of the Federation (ACGF) with reference No. SWC /5/04/S.410/T86 and dated April 23, 2021.
The letter requested that all medical doctors under the employment of universities who do extra work on clinical teaching of the medical students or pre-clinical teaching of medical students in the colleges of medicine, should all be moved from CONMESS to CONUAS salary structure.
This has resulted in the loss of some allowances and even basic pay with the attendant loss of income.
These doctors had a sequel to this, approached the NSIWC for a reversal but met a brick wall.
They then went to court and secured an injunction against the NSIWC and the Accountant General of the Federation.
Heritage Times gathered that the move by the minister to halt the movement of consultants from CONMESS to CONUAS salary scale is seen as a damage control measure to prevail on the senior doctors not to withdraw services on Monday, August 16 (tomorrow) as stated in their ultimatum to the federal government.
This is as the consultants who are the only ones now offering services in the various hospitals and medical centres to cushion the impact of the resident doctors’ strike.
The minister also directed the NSIWC to reverse the instruction to the Accountant General of the Federation and return the medical consultants’ pay to the status quo in obedience to the court order which stopped both the NSIWC and the office of the Accountant General from implanting that circular.
Ngige also wrote to the Ministry of Finance not to act on the content of the NSIWC letter given the ongoing conciliation and the court case.