The National Council on Establishment (NCE) announced that it would stop the payment of salaries for medical doctors on housemanship programmes but would rather consider them for allowances.
The NCE decision was contained in a memo signed by Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan.
It stated that members, at a meeting held in Lagos between November 30 to December 4, 2020, approved the removal of members of NYSC, interns and housemen from the federal government grade level salary structure.
The council, according to the memo, agreed to stop the payment of salaries on the grounds that the services provided are considered as training to enrolled members in their respective professions.
This means, the salaries of all health interns in Nigeria health institutions including that of house job have been removed from the payroll of the federal civil service. This information implies that, the federal government is saying housemanship (a paid mandatory one year service for fresh medical graduates) is now part of the continued training for doctors and other interns and therefore, they are no longer under any obligation to pay them salaries.
Before now, a house officer is on consolidated medical salary scale (CONMESS). With this decision, the federal government have removed house officers from the salary scale saying they will no longer pay HOs.
This information is contained in document dated 12th of April, 2021 and released by the National Council of Establishment (NCE is the highest decision making body in the civil service and duly signed by the head of civil service Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan….who is surprisingly a doctor that graduated as the best graduating dental student from the University of Ibadan in 1987.
Now, the government is saying housemanship and other health internships is a form of “studentship” and not supposed to be a paid job…
The Press Release:
“Head of Service of the Federation
12th April, 2021
INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME IN THE CIVIL/PUBLIC SERVICE
The National Council on Establishments (NCE) at its 42nd meeting held from 30th November 4th December, 2020 in lkeja, Lagos State reviewed the current status of internship programmes/housemanship/NYSC Doctors in the Service, and approved their removal from the Schemes of Service as posts attracting grade levels in the salary structure.
The Council based its decision on the grounds that the period of these programmes/services form part of the trainings in their respective professions.
Interns shal, however, be considered for the payment of allowance to be determined by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
This approval will be reflected in subsequent edition of the Schemes of Service.
Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan
Head of the Civil Service of the Federation”
This latest decision is not unrelated to the recent outcry, social media hashtags, and even open protests by house officers following the non- payment or half payment of their salaries after the centralisation by the medical and dental council of Nigeria (MDCN)…many health experts cited the the lack of cooperation of the hospital CMDs with the MDCN as the cause of the sour development. In the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital for example, house officers and other interns carrying banners, took to the premises of the management of the hospital to protest their financial hardship as a result of non-payment of their salaries.
Now that the FG has banned house officers from earning salaries, what does the future hold for young medical graduates and also interns of other health professionals?
However, according to the council, the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission will determine whether they will be paid an allowance instead of salaries.
“The National Council on Establishment (NCE) at its 42nd meeting held from 30th November – 4th December 2020 in Ikeja, Lagos State reviewed the current status on internship programmes/ housemanship/ NYSC Doctors in Service, and approved their removal from the Scheme of Service as posts attracting grade level in the salary structure,” the statement reads.
“The Council based its decision on the grounds that the period of these programmes/services form part of the training in their respective professions. interns shall, however, be considered for the payment of allowance to be determined by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission,” it added.
The federal government has had a torrid time meeting the demands of various workers unions who often demand better conditions of service. The nation has endured many strike actions from these bodies who are forced to embark on industrial action to press home their demands.
The National Association of Resident Doctors called off its strikes last week after several days of strike. Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria have been on strike for over a week due to non-payment of their salaries by the federal government.
According to the TheNigerialawyer, Nigerian government has continued to fall short in its responsibility to workers welfare.