The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has given a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet its demands or face industrial action.
MDCAN made this known in a communique signed by its President, Dr Victor Makanjuola, and the Secretary-General, Dr Yemi Raji, on Tuesday at the end of its extraordinary National Executive Council meeting.
The NEC said it was dismayed by the non-implementation of the jointly agreed upward review of CONMESS, and the introduction of recruitment allowance with the Nigerian Medical Association, as the released circular only captured the percentage increase on the basic salary, as against applying it to both the basic salaries and all allowances except hazard allowance.
The communique read: “This error has resulted in the complete exclusion of the clinical lecturers (Honorary Consultants) from benefitting from the upward review. The commencement date for the new circular was agreed to be January 1, 2023, rather than June 1, 2023.
“We believe this error will be corrected without delay. The recent upward review of CONMESS did not take into consideration the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal and exponential inflation that has pervaded our socio-economic space in the past three months.
“Despite our association’s decision to keep faith with the engagement and negotiations with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission for more than two years regarding the correction of the shortfalls in remuneration for Clinical Lecturers (Honorary Consultants), the issue is yet to be conclusively addressed by the Federal Government.”
The council decried the failure of the government to appreciate the magnitude of the impacts of brain drain in the health sector as exhibited by the refusal of the National Council on Establishment to approve the Federal Ministry of Health’s proposal on the upward review of the age of retirement for the Medical and Dental Consultants and other health workers.
According to the council, the government has failed to resolve the ongoing disputes with the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD), its attendant impacts on access to health care by Nigerians, and the kidnapping of doctors in the country.
The consultants are, however, demanding the immediate review of the newly revised CONMESS circular and issuance of a new circular that would reflect the agreed percentage on both the basic salary and other allowances, apart from hazard allowance.
Other demands include: “A call for the correction of the error of commencement of the implementation of the upward review of CONMESS from June 1, 2023, to January 1, 2023.
“The upward review of the CONMESS should take into consideration the impacts of the fuel subsidy removal and the high inflationary trend that is currently being experienced.
“A demand for the immediate implementation and circularisation of the agreed modalities for correcting the shortfalls in remunerations of Clinical Lecturers (Honorary Consultants). An appeal for the universal applicability of CONMESS to all medical and dental doctors, particularly those in public universities.”
MDCAN also drew the attention of the government to the impact of brain drain in the health sector, which according to them is “contributing to burnout among our members and inadequate healthcare workforce to cater to the health of Nigerians.”
“We, therefore, demand the immediate implementation of the upward review of age retirement to 70 years for Consultants and 65 years for other health workers as an immediate measure to bridge the ongoing massive brain drain.
“The NEC hopes that all these issues will be satisfactorily resolved within the next 21 days,” it said.