The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has warned Nigerians that the federal government’s decision to impose a no work, no pay policy on striking doctors could have serious consequences for the healthcare system.
In a statement, NARD president Dr Emeka Orji said the policy was “unfortunate” and would only serve to further aggravate the situation.
“The various conciliatory meetings by the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with Government stakeholders, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the National Assembly has proved abortive in getting NARD to call off their indefinite strike action.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health has instituted the policy of ‘No work, No Pay’ against the striking resident doctors in line with circular Ref. No.58598/8.1/II/182 dated June 22, 2016.
“I am further directed to request you to maintain an attendance register for all residents willing to work and furnish the ministry of such name every month.”
“It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Health has been shifting blame and keep saying they don’t have a minister yet, which is why they cannot handle such issues.
“They now have the will and the capacity of implementing imputative measures.
“I can tell you that this letter has aggravated things and nobody should blame NARD for any escalation that might likely happen from next week.”
Recall that NARD went on strike on July 26, following the expiration of a two-week ultimatum to the government to meet its demands.
The union’s demands include the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers, the discontinuation of the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges, the immediate payment of all salary arrears, the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, a new hazard allowance, and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act.
The government has said it is willing to meet with NARD to discuss its demands, but the union has so far refused to back down.
The no work, no pay policy is a major escalation in the dispute and could have serious consequences for patients.
NARD has said that it will continue to strike until its demands are met, and it is unclear how long the government will be able to sustain the no work, no pay policy.
The situation is a worrying development for the healthcare system in Nigeria, and it is unclear how it will be resolved.