By Oluwafunke Ishola/Bayo Olawunmi
The Medical Guild has appealed to the Lagos State Government to stop its decision to remove medical doctors undertaking housemanship and NYSC from the state scheme of service.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Medical Guild is the association of medical doctors under the employment of the Lagos state government.
Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, Chairman, Medical Guild, made the appeal at a news conference on Sunday in Lagos.
Sodipo said that the decision to remove the doctors was in a circular from the office of the state Head of Service dated July 12 and titled ‘Intership Programme in Public/Civil Service’.
According to him, the contents of the circular is at variance with any known international best practice and will cause further uncertainty in the health sector.
He said that the implication of the circular would translate to no grade level for incoming house officers and NYSC doctors who had previously began employment on grade level 10 by the state government.
“These doctors play critical roles as first contacts in most public health facilities, including teaching hospitals and primary healthcare centres.
“Data point to the fact that young doctors less than five years are leaving the country in droves because of uncertainty about their career progression.
“This circular has further heightened the uncertainty among them and we have received countless complaints from them on this issue,” he said.
He noted that the decision would further worsen the brain drain and manpower challenge confronting the state and country and was becoming difficult to attract medical graduates to residency training.
“At this point that we are combating the third wave of COVID-19, emerging medical challenges, monkey pox, cholera, communicable and non-communicable disease in the state.
“All policies should be to attract and encourage, particularly our young doctors,” he said.
Sodipo appealed that the circular should be immediately withdrawn to allow for proper consultation, as it was yet to be implemented at the federal or other states.
He urged the state to uphold commitment by the state Commissioner for Health and its counterpart in Establishment, Training and Pension that the circular would not affect the wages of medical doctors working as House Officers and NYSC doctors.
Sodipo also appealed that the challenge of unresolved salary disparity between doctors working for the state government and their counterparts should be urgently resolved.
He added that the disparity was contributing to attrition of doctors from the state service.
Sodipo stressed that the guild was duty bound to protect the medical profession as enshrined in the Physicians Oath and welfare of its members.
Also, Dr Ismail Ajibowo, Secretary of the guild, said that the long standing issue of salary disparity should be resolved as approved by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in September 2020.
“This would also help to stem the tide of attrition among doctors in the state and provide skilled manpower for the expanding health infrastructure in the state,” he said.
Ajibowo said that the guild’s congress would reconvene an emergency meeting on Aug. 29 to appraise and deliberate progress and decide on further actions accordingly.