Pharmacists Demand Implementation of Consultant Cadre Approval

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Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has appealed to the National Council for Establishment (NCE) to commence implementation of the approved Pharmacists Consultant Cadre programme.

The president of PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, who decried the delay in the implementation over 10 years after it was approved by the federal government, alleged the connivance of some top officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Chief Executives Officers of the Federal Health Institutions for the situation.

Prof. Usifoh, said although the Pharmacists Consultant Cadre had been approved by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSOF) and the FMOH which both issued enabling circulars for unhindered implementation of the Consultant Cadre through the NCE after fulfilling all tenets of due process, its implementation has been stalled for inexplicable reasons.

He disclosed that only the UCH, Ibadan and two other Federal Health Institutions as well as the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria(PCN), have complied with the circular of the OHCSF and the FMOH to implement the new scheme and called upon NCE to implement the approval as contained in the circulars.

‘’We call on the NCE to firmly stand to reinforce the implementation of the circulars of the OHCSF and FMOH,’’ he said.

In memo to all members of NCE ahead of the scheduled meeting of the establishment in Abuja from January 24-29, the PSN expressed its gratitude to the NCE for its ‘uprightness and the diligence which facilitated the August 2011 approval of the creation of Pharmacists Consultant Cadre.

In the document titled : ‘Consultant Pharmacists Cadre: Matters Arising’ it read in part: “It has become imperative once again to put this position paper as the National Council for Establishment (NCE) meets.”

Usifoh, who described the efforts at getting the approval and implementation of the PCC as tortuous, said “In contemporary times, there have been attempts to create unnecessary distractions for the Pharmacists Consultancy Cadre which has fulfilled all established tenets of due process from the NCE, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSOF) and even the FMOH which both issued enabling circulars for unhindered implementation of the Consultant Cadre.

“For the sake of clear insight, we wish to catalogue the journey so far on the Pharmacist Consultant Cadre: The release of the circular on consultant pharmacist cadre followed due process and fulfilled all the requirements as stipulated by the National Council on Establishment (NCE).

“It is appropriate to inform you that NCE had in August 2011 given approval for the creation of the Pharmacist Consultant Cadre. This approval followed the receipt and adoption of the recommendations contained in a report of its technical committee on the review of the Scheme of Service and Creation of Consultant Pharmacists Cadre in the Public Service.

“However, owing to reasons beyond our comprehension, the follow-up circular was not released.

“In 2015, in an apparent attempt at releasing the circular, the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) dispatched a letter dated 28 July 2015 (reference no: HCSF/EPO/EIR/NCE/100/S.6/T/56) to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) requesting for his views/comments and inputs before the release of the circular as approved by the NCE in 2011. The FMoH responded via a letter dated 5th October 2015 (reference no: C4007/T4/315) in which the ministry reaffirmed its full support for the creation of the Consultant Cadre for Pharmacists.

According to him, one of the paragraphs in their response stated as follows: “I, therefore, wish to assure you that the Federal Ministry of Health is in full support of the creation of the Consultant Cadre and look forward to the release of its Scheme of Service.”

Again, the release of the circular was stalled for reasons we are yet to understand. In furtherance of its support for the Fellowship training programme, the FMoH on 15th September 2015 sent out a circular (Ref no. FDS/231/04/II/68) where it conveyed the approval of the ministry for the “use of facilities/departments under the Federal Ministry of Health as training sites for the residency programme of students of West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.See annexure 4.

“Finally in 2019 the matter of Consultant Pharmacist cadre was presented to the NCE for a second time for its consideration during her 41st meeting held in Asaba, Delta State from 4th- 8th November 2019. The NCE, in its wisdom, ratified its earlier approval (made in 2011) for the creation of the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre structured from SGL. 15 – SGL.17 in the Schemes of Service for use in the Public Service of Nigeria. After this second approval, another letter dated March 6, 2020, was sent from OHSCF to FMoH (ref no: HCSF/SPSO/ODD/NCE/CND.100/S.8/39) to FMoH informing the ministry about the ratification of its earlier approval for pharmacist’s consultant cadre and requested that the FMoH should liaise with the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to develop the appropriate salary structure for the new cadre to enable the OHCSF issue the appropriate circular for the implementation of the Council’s approval.

“It went further to add that the salary structure for pharmacists is the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS). Accordingly, Consultant Pharmacists should be placed on CONHESS 13 – 15 which is equivalent to SGL 15 – 17 as shown in the Consultant Pharmacists’ cadre,” the letter added.

It also stated that “the Consultant Pharmacists are entitled to be paid relevant allowances including Specialist Allowance as contained in circular No. SWC/S/04/S,410/Vol. II/349 dated 8th December 2009” a copy of which is attached to their response. Upon receipt of this letter from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, the FMoH sent a reply to OHCSF via a letter dated 28th July 2020 (reference no: C.4007/II/217/T).

The memo stated: “Based on these clarifications and having met all the statutory requirements, the OHCSF on the 13th of September 2020, finally released the circular (reference no: HCSF/CSO/HRM/1274/T3) for the Cadre. The circular was signed by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who is a dental surgeon by profession. To the best of our knowledge, this process and procedure for the approval and release of the circular for the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre are perhaps the most thorough in recent history.”

The PSN urged the NCE to uphold the approved implementation already clearly and unambiguously documented in the circular ref. No. FMH/FDS/CSPTH/1/95 of August 2, 2021 which clarified the mode of applicability and full implementation of the Consultant Pharmacist Cadre in Nigeria.