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NMA, MDCN To Decide On Private Practice Ban

The regulatory body of doctors has said it will decide on the Federal Government’s decision of banning doctors in public service from engaging in private practice. Prof. Adewale Oke, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, made this known on in Lagos.
Oke, said that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) would soon come out with clear positions on this issue.
The Federal Government had on Oct. 11, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, banned doctors in the public service from engaging in private practice.
Responding to that, Oke said that the matter would be addressed by the two bodies.“The ban came up suddenly with many expressing different opinions. But for political reasons, it is advisable to have discussion with NMA and MDCN on the matter. They are professional bodies and the regulators of medical profession.So, they will at the appropriate time make their decisions known to the public.
It is desirable for doctors to concentrate on residence, but if we have to consider other factors, in term of service, there may be different complexion and thought about it.
We should engage in wide consultations on the subject matter, he said.
Also, in his reactions, Dr. Ajibola Salami, the Secretary, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LASUTH Chapter, said that the ban isa step in a wrong direction.“The NMA and MDCN, as regulatory bodies, have set the guidelines for private practices for its members which are fair enough”, he stated.
He said the law according to MDCN ”says you cannot own a private practice, unless you are of 10 years post-graduation experience or you are a consultant or otherwise, a fellow.
This regulation has been working without any barrier.We are, therefore, not in support of doctors using the government time for private practice; that is unethical,” he said.
Salami said that doctors on the payroll of government, but engaging in private practice during their official schedule, are cheating government.“But, this should not translate to outright ban.
He also said that government should concentrate more on how to improve on the existing infrastructural facilities to stem medical tourism instead of banning doctors from private practice.“I think government should direct its energy on better production and provision of affordable health care to stem medical tourism, rather than fighting the doctors.
Political office holders are always going abroad for ordinary medical checkups which can be done here without any query.Even, some go for treatments on headache and tooth extraction, things that can be done here.
The most painful is the amount of money involved which can be of use to us here, he lamented.
He said if government official travel out of the country for treatment then only the poor who cannot afford the bill will patronize them.


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