Doctors Issue FCT A 21-Day Ultimatum Over Denied Promotions

On 04/Jun/2019 / In Medical News

Resident doctors in the FCT have given the FCT Administration 21 days from Monday to promote resident doctors who have been denied promotion due to the implementation of a skipping policy since 2016, pay arrears of 26-day allowances due doctors and fully convert those who have completed their residency training. The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the FCT says it cannot “guarantee industrial harmony” if the management of the FCT administration fails to correct the anomalies. 
The promotion of around 150 resident doctors across the FCT’s 14 district and general hospitals, primary health centres, primary health care board and public health agencies have been stagnated since the FCT began implementing the “skipping” policy in 2016. “Many of them had their promotion delayed and were skipped to the next grade level. When the promotion was eventually done, they were still promoted to the same grade level they have been skipped to,” said Dr Roland Aigbovo, president of the ARD in the FCT. 
Back then, ARD issued a 21-day ultimatum, prompting a meeting with the immediate past FCT minister Mohammed Bello, permanent secretary Chinyeaka Ohaa, and the FCTA’s director for human resource management. The minister directed that affected staff be promoted to the next grade level after corrections were effected in the 2017 promotion schedule. “The 2017 promotion exercise was approved by the immediate past FCT Minister and our members were still promoted to the same grade level they were skipped to and this has continued unabated with the screening of those eligible for promotion in 2018,” Aigbovo told a press conference in Abuja on Monday. Some 64 doctors were denied promotion in 2016 and another 88 in 2017. Screening for 2018 promotion is done and the ARD is worried its members may still be denied promotion if the corrections are not effected. In addition, it said, doctors who have completed their residency to become specialists “are made to work as consultants and paid as medical officers for as long to two to three years due to delays” in fully converting them appropriately. 
“This we believe is inappropriate and should be reversed,” ARD said in a statement after a general meeting in Abuja. “They are putting in man-hours and expertise, doing the work of specialists, carrying the burden of their medical teams but being paid as medical officers,” Aigbovo explained. The ultimatum is the second on the same grievances since the first one prompted meetings with the former FCT minister and other members of the administration last year. ARD, along with other health workers’ groups covering nurses, midwives, pharmacists and laboratory scientists, issued joint notices to the administration last year but said the result has been “all talk and no action.” Among other worries, it says the FCT administration has not recruited doctors in years to fill the gaps in manpower caused by doctors who have left or retired, and was instead engaging “locum” doctors and fuelling casualisation of doctors. 
It insists the former minister has already issued the directive and it is for the management to adhere. It is unclear what meetings with the FCT administration have been slated throughout the period of the ultimatum, but ARD says it is willing to negotiate when the administration calls. ARD executives are to meet on June 24, once the ultimatum expires, to decide next steps.

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