Lagos State government has approved the scrapping of House Officers and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Doctors from its salary scale.
Recall that the Federal Government in April, 2021, removed all medical house officers and interns from the payroll of the federal civil service. Lagos is the first state to implement that directive at the state level.
The Lagos State directive was contained in a document dated 12th July, 2021.signed by the state’s Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, the document, titled: “Internship Programme in the civil/public service,”
The circular reads: “As part of the resolutions reached at the 42nd National Council on Establishment (NCE) meeting which was held in Lagos on Monday 30th November to Friday 4th December 2020, the current status of Internship Programmes/Houseman-ship/NYSC Doctors in the public service was reviewed and removed from the schemes of service as posts attracting grade levels in the salary structure as the programmes form part of the trainings in their respective professions.
“Accordingly, Mr governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved the removal of grade level for Internship Programmes/lhousemanship, NYSC Doctors in the state public service.
“Consequently, accounting officers are enjoined to note the contents of this circular and give it the deserved service wide publicity.”
Meanwhile, medical doctors in the state are pleading with the state government to reconsider its decision, considering the fact that the health system is in dire need of urgent resuscitation to meet the prevailing health challenges in the sector.
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told LEADERSHIP that removing medical interns from scheme of service will only worsen the health sector, while urging Lagos state government to reconsider its decision.
Okhuaihesuyi said, “House officers and NYSC doctors are interns who are working tediously to ensure that patients are well attended to. Removing them from the state’s payroll will affect the state, because no intern will want to work for free, when others are being paid in other states.”
He however called on the state government to go and check what it means not to have House Officers/NYSC Doctors in the hospital system. “So I plead with the government not to follow through with this circular because it will cause more harm to the health sector,” he added.
Founder, SMILE with Me Foundation, Dr. Chioma Nwakanma said House Officers are not mere interns, they are the first on call in the hospital. “This means they bear the brunt of the primary care. They clock in first and leave last. They are the most used professionals in the hospital system,” she added.
Whatever they are paid, Nwakanma said they deserved it and even more, adding that their salaries have been fixed and never adjusted to be commiserate with the current economic inflations, yet they are always owed salaries.
She said they are the mitochondria of the hospital and if Lagos state government take them away, the state may have a collapsed health system.
The #realsabidoctor via social media said, “It is with great concern that i plead with the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to reconsider the decision of his government to delist House Officers and NYSC doctors from the state’s salary scheme.
“Sir, this decision will not only demotivate these young brilliant doctors who have been instrumental in the fight against the deadly pandemic, it will also make the state unattractive to them.
“Also bearing in mind that Lagos still remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the eventual fallout of this unpopular decision will deal a great blow to the fight against the deadly pandemic and our country’s already fragile and crippling healthcare system.
“Please kindly reconsider this decision for our healthcare’s sake, Mr governor. We cannot afford to have a severely demotivated healthcare workforce saddled with the crucial responsibility of saving and safeguarding the lives of people. It is too costly a risk to “Some partner agencies such as UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders have joined hands with the state government in mitigating the scourge from further spreading,” Muazu said.