Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) in Plateau State has sacked 25 doctors working with the health institution. We gathered that the news about the disengagement of the resident doctors was causing panic at the hospital, which is one of the isolation centres for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the state.
Concerns were raised about the treatment of quarantined inmates when the president of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), JUTH branch, Dr. Stephen Lukden, confirmed the development to journalists in Jos yesterday.
Lukden said, “It is true; 25 residents received letters of termination of their residency training and we have information that some will receive theirs in the weeks/months to come. We have not seen this kind of thing before.”
In a letter addressed to the CMD of JUTH, Prof. Edmund Banwat, the association asked the hospital’s management to reverse the termination, describing the action as unjust and illegal.
In the letter signed by Lukden and the General Secretary, Dr. Noel Nnaegbuna, the medics noted that the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari and gazetted on July 16, 2018, stipulated guidelines on the conduct of residency training programme in the country.
They pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Health had also in a letter dated June 18, 2019, directed all CMDs in the federal tertiary health institutions to immediately begin the implementation of the gazetted MRTA acts and wondered why the JUTH management would go ahead to sack the doctors in breach of the constitution.
The letter dated May 4, 2020, which was copied to the Board Chairman of JUTH, Medical Advisory Council (MAC), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), among others read in part: “It is sad that this sack is occurring in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic when the Federal Government is even considering recalling retired doctors to the workforce.
“The unlawful termination of these appointments contravenes the provision of the MRTA, which mandates the National Post-Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) to regulate the residency training and also routinely bring out online data bases stating when a resident should be withdrawn from the programme.
“A similar situation happened in Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, where 33 residents were wrongfully sacked two weeks ago. After deliberations with the governor, the residents were recalled this week.
“In view of this, we ask the management to look into this issue again critically and promptly recall the affected resident doctors as provided in the MRTA by withdrawing the already issued letters and re-issuing appropriate ones to the affected individuals.” The CMD of JUTH, Prof. Edward Banwat, could not be reached for comment at press time.