The Federal Government of Nigeria has granted approval for doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare professionals to serve as contract staff after reaching their mandatory retirement age or years of service.
The decision was reached based on ongoing discussions concerning the retirement age of medical and dental consultants and other healthcare professionals.
According to reports, based on a circular issued by the Federal Ministry of Health, Chief Executive Agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, and Heads of Regulatory Bodies and Schools have received instructions to ensure strict compliance with a previous circular issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, applicable to all staff within their respective institutions.
The new circular comes amid a statement from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation requesting a “Re: Review of retirement age to 65 and 70 years for health professionals and medical/dental consultants” as directed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health.
The circular, signed by Olufemi Oloruntoba, the Permanent Secretary of the Service Policies and Strategies Office, acting on behalf of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, rejected the proposed increase in retirement age for medical and dental consultants and other health professionals. It cited several reasons for the rejection:
Firstly, it emphasized that healthcare professionals were leaving the country not solely due to their retirement age but primarily because of financial considerations and unfavourable working conditions.
Some state governments had already raised the retirement age of medical doctors and healthcare workers without effectively addressing the ongoing issue of healthcare worker emigration.
Furthermore, the circular expressed dissatisfaction with the work ethic of healthcare workers despite the government’s efforts to motivate them, acknowledging the continuous brain drain in the healthcare sector.
What you should know
These contract appointments will be offered at the same salary scale level that healthcare workers retire on, provided they desire and qualify for it.
The circular urged the government to engage with relevant bodies, such as the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Medical Association, to secure a commitment from medical doctors.
It called for the establishment of an effective performance management system within the public service to enhance the work ethics of medical officers, consultants, and doctors.
The circular emphasized the importance of medical professionals displaying greater patriotism in the discharge of their duties and refraining from actions that could disrupt the healthcare system.
In light of these developments, the Federal Ministry of Health has called upon all executives of agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, and Heads of Regulatory Bodies and Schools to ensure strict compliance with the directives issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The circular related to this matter was signed by Daloba Paul Edward, the Deputy of Appointment, Promotion, and Discipline, on behalf of Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, and was referenced as C.4007/T.2/37.