By Blessing Odega
Resident doctors of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), on Monday staged a protest over the sack of 100 of its members by the hospital management.
Other reasons for the protest, according to Dr. John Agbo, Chairman, Association of Resident Doctors, JUTH chapter, included management’s refusal to obey various court orders restraining it from sacking the physicians.
The doctors, who protested in and around the hospital, claimed that resident doctors were expected to spend between seven to 10 years to complete their training, but were being sacked by JUTH management after six years.
“Resident doctors require seven to 10 years to complete their training because of the short changes in the curriculum of the college; this is what is contained in Federal Government circulars issued in 2014 and 2015.
“The JUTH management has refused to implement the current circulars, opting to work with the 2013 circular which pegged the duration of the training to six years,” Agbo said.
The chairman accused JUTH’s management of “selective implementation of circulars”, saying that circulars with negative effect on doctors were usually implemented “in a hurry”, while those with positive effects were ignored.
“After the last nationwide strike by our union, the Federal Government instructed that the “no work, no pay policy” should not be implemented, but when they resumed, JUTH’s Management insisted on implementing the policy.
In his reaction, Prof. Edmund Banwat, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of JUTH, rejected suggestions that the hospital had sacked 100 doctors.
“We cannot sack resident doctors; they come here to undertake a sub-specialty training programme that lasts six years.
“At the end of the six years training, such doctors exit. That is the rule. There is no sacking.
“When they leave, other doctors come in and take their turns. The resident doctors know the rule, but they are asking for a training period of 10 years, which doesn’t happen anywhere.
“The management of JUTH is not sacking; it is a guideline that has been in existence. I do not know why this crop of resident doctors want it extended to 10 years because it is at variance with government’s directive.
“A review is ongoing, but until it is completed, everyone is expected to operate within the existing guideline. When the guideline under review is out, it will be applied uniformly across the country,” he said.
Banwat, however, explained that some sub-specialties required seven years.
“Resident doctors undertaking such specialties have had their training extended accordingly,” he said.
The JUTH boss also dismissed allegations that management was selective in the implementation of government circulars.
“All circulars received from the Federal Government are implemented. That is not optional,” he said.
He said that the “no work, no pay policy” was being implemented because there was no directive to pay resident doctors, who embarked on strike in August.
Banwat said that the case bordering on alleged sacking of resident doctors was still in court, and wondered which court order he had ignored.