The Federal Government has granted approval for the engagement of retired healthcare workers, particularly medical doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare personnel, on a contractual basis.
According to a circular issued by the government, the salaries of these re-engaged retired health workers will be equivalent to the amount they were earning prior to their retirement.
The Ministry of Health, in a circular dated October 5, 2023, addressed to Chief Executive Agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, and Heads of Regulatory Bodies and Schools, urged them to adhere to a previous circular issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, which pertains to all staff in their institutions.
The circular, signed by Olufemi Oloruntoba, the Permanent Secretary of the Service Policies and Strategies Office, acting on behalf of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, made reference to a memorandum presented at the 44th National Council on Establishment held in Yola, Adamawa State, from December 5th to 9th, 2022. The memorandum had requested a review of the retirement age for Medical/Dental Consultants and other health professionals, suggesting an increase from 60 to 70 and 75 years, respectively.
However, the Council rejected this request based on several factors, including the observation that health professionals were leaving the country primarily due to financial considerations and unfavourable working conditions, rather than retirement age. The Council also noted that some state governments had already extended the retirement age for medical doctors and other health workers without effectively addressing the issue of healthcare worker migration.
The circular approved the engagement of clinical health workers who had reached the compulsory retirement age/years on a contractual basis, with salaries matching their pre-retirement level. It also recommended that the government engage with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Medical Association to secure commitment from medical doctors.
To address concerns about the work ethic of health workers, the circular suggested the institutionalization of an effective performance management system in the public service to improve the professionalism of medical officers, consultants, and medical doctors, emphasizing the need for greater patriotism in the discharge of their duties.
The circular, titled ‘Re: Review of retirement age to 65 and 70 years for health professionals and medical/dental consultants,’ was directed to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health.
Consequently, the Ministry of Health, in its own circular, urged all executives of agencies, chief medical directors, medical directors, and heads of regulatory bodies and schools to strictly adhere to the directive from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
It’s worth noting that an earlier circular from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, dated August 30, 2023, had rejected the proposed increase in the retirement age for Medical/Dental Consultants and other health professionals from 60 to 70 and 75, respectively.
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