THE Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has threatened to go on strike should the Federal Government fail to meet its demands within 21 days.
MDCAN gave the ultimatum in a communique issued on Tuesday, August 22, at the end of its extraordinary National Executive Council meeting, which was held virtually.
The communique expressed disappointment over the non-implementation of the jointly agreed CONMESS review and Accoutrement allowance with the Nigerian Medical Association, stating that the released circular only increased basic salaries, omitting all allowances except hazard allowance.
MDCAN noted that the error has resulted in the complete exclusion of the clinical lecturers (Honorary Consultants) from benefitting from the upward review.
It also said that 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 Association also disclosed that it observed the non-universal implementation of CONMESS for all medical and dental doctors, irrespective of the agencies of the government they are working with.
The council expressed disappointment with the government’s lack of understanding regarding the severity of the brain drain in the healthcare sector. This was evident in the National Council on Establishment’s rejection of the Federal Ministry of Health’s proposal to increase the retirement age for Medical and Dental Consultants and other health workers.
According to MDCAN, the government’s inability to resolve disputes with the National Association of Resident Doctors has negatively affected healthcare access for Nigerians.
The consultants are urging for an immediate revision of the recently updated CONMESS circular and also requesting the issuance of a new circular that accurately reflects the agreed percentage increase on both 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.
“The attention of the government is once again called to the impact of brain drain in the health sector, which 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 Association urged the government to urgently resolve issues with NARD to restore normal hospital operations for better healthcare while also calling on all levels of government and security agencies to ensure the safety of its members and the release of those kidnapped.
The NEC hopes for resolution within 21 days, warning that it may be forced to take industrial actions against the government fails to meet its demands.