Doctor’s Protest: We will follow due process in recruitment – FTHL

The Management of the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, FTHL, said it will not circumvent any processes in the recruitment of new doctors and other staff in the hospital.

Addressing a press conference in Lokoja on Friday, the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, Dr Ebune Ojochide, while reacting to the protest by the Association of Resident Doctors, (ARD) over alleged shortage of manpower, obnoxious policies, and many more said the protesters were being economical with the truth.

Dr Ojochide explained that the hospital management cannot single-handedly take the decision to employ new doctors and other staff without approval from the Federal Government.

He accused the protesting doctors of failing to officially engage with the hospital management to express their grievances.

Explaining further, Dr Ojochide said, “We have a serious shortage of manpower in the health sector across the country just because of the japa syndrome. Even as we speak, more health workers are resigning in Nigeria. It’s not just here at the FTHL. However, there is an administrative process that is required for the recruitment and replacement of workers.

“So, the Federal Government has put on hold, recruitment of workers including the health sector. Recently, the Government considered giving a waiver to the bottleneck concerning recruitment. That is the basic challenge across the nation. An institution like FTHL cannot recruit staff without approval and financial backing which we have not been given.

“There is a process. That is what we have explained to resident doctors. The administrative process and approval have to be completed with the relevant agencies and the mandate given with the cash backing to recruit.

” Without that, if you recruit, it will be illegal, null and void, and there will be no money to pay the staff. In the interim, locum medical staff were engaged as a temporary measure to fill in some of the gaps. Let it be on record that locum is not casualization. They are temporary and not permanent staff. In my unit, we are short of staff. I am the only one out of three surgeons.

” We can’t afford to allow the services to collapse because doctors, nurses and other medical staff are leaving the country. We must do all that we can within the available options and resources to keep the system going. That is the answer to what they are protesting. I challenge journalists to make their findings that it is not only FTHL that has a shortage of manpower in Nigeria, it is everywhere. There is an ongoing process of recruiting new staff in FTHL but approval has not been given by the government”.

According to him, the issue of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, (GIFNIS) raised by the aggrieved doctors for its members to be moved to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) can’t stand, adding that, the Government must approve before the management can take such decision.

On the issue of call meals raised by the protesters, Dr Ojochide accused the doctors of illegally terminating the contract of a food vendor without following due processes.

“Core meal is a non-financial incentive given by the management of the hospital to encourage staff when they are on duty. Especially call duty. Many institutions do it while others do not. Let the world know that a call meal is a privilege and not a right. Meal allowance has been paid in our consolidated salary. The management of the hospital bears the financial burden of the meals served to the doctors.

“ARD were the one that recommended the current food vendor in 2019. Now, if someone has served you for over five years, courtesy demands that you will relate with that person in a human face. Some members of the ARD had unofficially complained about the call meal being served by the current vendor. We may understand that there are many factors which could be inflation.

” They didn’t relate with us officially. All we got in a communique was that they were going to terminate the contract of the current vendor and replace her with another. How will you terminate the contract of a person you didn’t engage in the first place?

” This is the reason the person stops supplying food to them. Since then, nobody is supplying them with meals. Resident doctors are not the only association benefitting from core meals in FTHL. Pharmacists and nurses are also benefiting from it.

“Residents doctors terminated the supply of core food by their own actions and not the management of FTHL.This is the same way they acted illegally by declaring 72 72-hour strike some months back without following due process. They had already gone on strike before communicating to us that this was the reason they wanted to down their tools. They don’t follow due process which is unacceptable”.

He, however, cleared the air over the presence of security personnel when the doctors were protesting on Friday morning.

“The management was shocked to see some doctors protesting yesterday and today at the hospital premises without any official communication to the appropriate authority.

“We had earlier thought it was some hoodlums who were protesting in the hospital because they didn’t inform us. The security of staff and our patients is very important to us. We don’t want anybody to hijack the protest. That is why we invited security agencies to come and maintain law and order. As you would observe, the security agency did not stop them from protesting”.

Dr Ojochide maintained that the management remains committed to providing quality health services to Nigerians.

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1 Comment

  1. Enefola Marvellous

    Reward for passion

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