Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has approved a 5% increase in the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) of medical doctors in the state. The Governor made the announcement Thursday when he received the National Secretary General of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Executives of the State Chapter of the union in Government House, Benin City.
Making the pronouncement, Oshiomhole said, “I believe wages and payment of wages is a right and not a privilege you dispense when you are comfortable and I want us to retain the best brains in our hospitals. I have argued in previous fora that our doctors are not inferior to any other doctor including those working for the Federal Government and therefore, there is ordinarily no reason why our doctors should earn N1 less than any other doctor of the same qualification in any other part of the country.
“Having done my home work today, it doesn’t matter what the implications are, we will increase the wages of Medical Doctors by 5% so it will go from 90% to 95%. My intention was that we will flatten it out, but I’m not sure of the numbers because the health sector accounts for a chunk of our wage bill as their pay is much more attractive than regular civil servants. So, right away, notwithstanding the challenges we face, we will grant 5% increase and I believe in the future, whatever is left will be leveled out.”
Oshiomhole continued, “Many of my colleagues, when they read that Comrade has further increased Edo Doctors pay by 5%, will think I am crazy. But I realize that I cannot eat my cake and have it. I want the best doctors, I want experienced Doctors, and I cannot keep them if there is so much disparity between their pay and the pay of other doctors in the country.
“When I look at the numbers and I find that I can pay even better, then I will, because what will be will be. I believe that wages must be competitive, even if we have a zero wage bill, it cannot deliver us from our present crisis. So I believe we should do what we have to do. We will try and effect that and see if it can be reflected in the salary of March.”
The Governor however took a swipe at doctors on their attitude to work, saying, “it is true we could do with more doctors, but it is even more embarrassing that the few we have are not giving us all the time for which they are paid. We still have doctors who are supposed to be at work in government hospitals who are found in their private clinics during the same period which means they are defrauding the government by collecting salaries for jobs they are not doing.
“These practices are on. Even today, if I were to go with you to pay a random visit to some of our hospitals across the state, you will be embarrassed to see that the doctors who are supposed to be on duty now would most likely be in their private clinics. So, if you are having situations like that, given present physical realities, the first challenges would be to get doctors to work for their money before we employ more hands. The doctors should put in as much work as they are paid. Doctors who are supposed to be on call duties never respond to those call and at the end of the month, they receive call duty allowance. These are serious ethical issues that NMA have to address. It is happening in Edo, I believe it is happening in other parts of the country and those practices have to be addressed.
Speaking earlier, the National Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki said, “Let me congratulate you on the gigantic strides of your dynamic missionary and result oriented administration of Edo State. we must acknowledge that you have touched the lives of the good people of Edo State and we are sure that posterity will be kind to you.
“We appreciate your effort to fully equip the Stella Obasanjo Hospital with modern facilities and the Ultra Modern 5-Star Central Hospital just constructed. We believe that when these projects are fully functional, Edo State will greatly benefit from medical tourism as there will be no need for people to travel abroad for medical care.
“We are desirous to assist you with a highly motivated, highly skilled man power to achieve your noble objectives”.