The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has given the federal government till Jan 31, 2024 to implement the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
President of the association, Dr Uche Ojinmah, gave the ultimatum Sunday during the closing ceremony of the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
He said that the association cannot guarantee industrial harmony in the health sector if all its demands particularly on welfare are not met.
While saying that the association had been patient enough, he said the federal government should also implement the newly approved accruement allowance with arrears from June 2022.
The NMA president said that the association did not have a clear direction about when all the allowances would be implemented even though they had been approved since July 1, 2023.
He called on the federal government to quickly do the little it intends to do for doctors, stressing that doctors were making great sacrifices.
The NMA called on the federal government to put mechanisms in place to enable private hospitals attend to emergency cases.
While commending government ‘s directive for all cases of medical emergencies to be treated by doctors in private and public hospitals, Ojinmah said questions therefore arise on who pays the bill for the emergency cases especially for private hospitals.
The NMA president said that private hospitals were purposely opened for business, adding that where things were done properly, the government should have a universal health coverage (UHC) mechanism where health insurance takes care of the emergency cases.
He said, “The basic healthcare fund is supposed to take care of the first 48 to 72 hours of emergency for every Nigerian, this has not been implemented till today. So if you asked a private practitioner to treat people free, he won’t do that. These are issues that should be untangled before we start issuing directive.
“Every private hospital is open for business; some are even running on loan, so let’s stop paying lip service to emergency healthcare and do the right thing,’’.
He said medical doctors were also ready to comply with the directive to treat gunshot injury patients without police reports.
He however enjoined the Inspector-General of Police to make police officers comply with the directive and stop unnecessary harassment of doctors over treatment of emergency cases.