FG Bars Doctor-trainees from Joining Unions

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1,021 doctors, dentists take professional oath

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government has stated that henceforth, it will not tolerate any act of indolence or engagement in industrial action by trainee-doctors, who are on one year internship programme in hospitals across the country.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of 1,021 foreign trained medical and dental graduates organised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), the Chairman of the council, Prof. Abba Waziri Hassan, said House Officers are not allowed to join unions or associations during the 12 months period of their training to enable them concentrate on their training.

He also warned that the government would not tolerate any House Officer engaging in any illegal practice or act.

Hassan charged the interns to abide strictly by the code of conduct during their one-year internship.

According to Hassan, “One of the rules is that they should not belong to any union, labour association or engage in an industrial action during the one-year training.

“By law, they are not supposed to join any association until they are fully registered as doctors. For now, they are on probation and should not belong to any union or join in any strike. Anybody who is caught will be brought before the council, and if found guilty, will be sanctioned. The
person may be barred from practice.”

The council boss said one of the implications of the transfer of supervisory role to MDCN was that it would instill more discipline and ensure that doctors on internship would no longer be compelled to join others in the incessant industrial action thereby deviating from the set objective of the programme.

They must commit themselves fully and pay attention to their seniors who are their trainers. This is not the era of people going into private practice. If they spend their time understudying their seniors very well, by the time they finish the 12 months internship, they will be very good doctors,” he said.

While enjoining the new inductees, the Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, urged them to strive to leave up to their professional calling by distinguishing themselves during training.

He said the federal government has approved the takeover of administering the Housemanship programme by the MDCN from Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres.

“The federal government has approved funds for the training of House Officers effective from January 2021. MDCN is now charged with the placements, training and payment of House Officers emoluments, a responsibility hitherto being carried out by the Federal Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Hospitals and other appointed health Institutions,” the minister said.

While performing the swearing-in and oath of the profession to inductees, the Registrar of the council, Dr. Tajudeen Sanusi, charged them to be of good behaviour throughout the duration of the programme.