The National Industrial Court sitting in Enugu presided over by Hon I.J Essien has stopped moves by the management of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu to sack resident doctors in the health institution.
DAILY POST reports that the court ordered the hospital to maintain status quo antebellum in their move to exit or terminate resident doctors of the Hospital from their employment and Residency programme until the next date of the matter fixed for 16th July 2018.
This is consequent upon the move by the Hospital to terminate the Residency training programme of some of the Resident Doctors of the Hospital as indicated in the letters dated, 17th April 2017 issued to the Resident Doctors by the Hospital.
The Court further directed LL.B Iboroma , counsel to the 1st Respondent, Honourable Minister for Health to ensure that the Hospital Management complied with the Court order following the counsels undertaking to do so.
The Court also ordered that the Court Order should be served on the Hospital.
The orders and directives of the court was made upon the application bycounsel to the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, Mr Ikechukwu Maximus Ugwuoke, pursuant to the Originating Summons filed by the former executive members of the association pending at the court in Suit No NICN/EN/54/2017.
They are praying the court to interpret the relevant portions of the approved template letter of employment into the Residency Training Programme from the Honourable Minister for Health as contained in the internal circular no C2262T/35 dated 18th July 2014 and a follow up circular dated the 20th day of April 2016 and to determine the duration of the residency training programme of the Claimants in all the Tertiary Health Institutions running residency Training programme in Nigeria.
Mr Ugwuoke had on 21st May 2018 sought to move the court exparte for an Order of Interim Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant (the Ministers for Health) by his privy, agent or subsidiary, the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Management Board Enugu and/or her Medical Director, Dr J.U Onwukwe or any person acting for or through him from sacking, disengaging or withdrawing from their residency training programme any of the Resident Doctors of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu by way of replacing them with new residents or stopping their salaries on 31st May 2018 or any future dates as contemplated in Letter issued to them titled “RESIDENCY PROGRAMME” dated 17th April 2018, or victimizing any of the said Resident Doctors of the said Health Institution in any manner howsoever in connection thereto, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.”
However the Court refused to hear the motion exparte but directed the Claimants to serve the Defendants with their motion on notice and adjourned the hearing of the motion to 28th May 2018.
When the motion on notice came up yesterday for hearing, counsel to the 1st Defendant, LL.B Iboroma pleaded the Court for a further adjournment to file his defence to the application but the Honourable Court made the directive that the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital should maintain the status quo until the hearing of the application.
Speaking with the Claimants’ counsel, Mr Ugwuoke after the court sitting, he maintained that the Court directive was in interest of justice.
He said that while it did not shut the defendants from being heard, “the Court directive on the other hand preserves the res which is the impending sack, withdrawal or withholding of the salaries of the Resident Doctors beyond the 31st day of May 2018 as contemplated in the letters issue to them until the application is disposed of.”