The Nigerian government has given the green light for the engagement of retired health professionals, particularly medical doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare workers, on a contract basis. According to a recent circular issued by the government, the salaries of these re-engaged retired health personnel will remain the same as what they were receiving before their retirement.
This directive, communicated in a circular dated October 5, 2023, and addressed to Chief Executive Agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, Heads of Regulatory Bodies, and Schools by the Ministry of Health, emphasizes the need for compliance with a previous circular issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to all staff in their respective institutions.
The circular, signed by Olufemi Oloruntoba, the Permanent Secretary of the Service Policies and Strategies Office on behalf of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, also references a memorandum presented at the 44th National Council on Establishment. This memorandum requested a review of the retirement age for Medical/Dental Consultants and other health professionals from 60 to 70 and 75, respectively.
However, the council rejected the request, citing reasons such as health professionals leaving the country due to financial considerations and unfavorable working conditions, not retirement age. The council also expressed dissatisfaction with health workers’ attitudes toward their work and noted that increasing retirement age had not curbed the problem of brain drain.
Instead, the council approved the option of offering contract appointments to clinical health workers who have reached the compulsory retirement age/years, with the same salary scale level they had when they retired if they wish and deserve it. The government will also engage with medical associations to encourage commitment from medical doctors.
In response to the observed dissatisfaction with health workers’ attitudes, the circular suggests the need for an effective performance management system in the public service and calls for greater patriotism among medical doctors in the discharge of their duties.
The Ministry of Health subsequently urged all relevant authorities to ensure strict compliance with the directive from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. This development follows a prior circular dated August 30, 2023, in which the OHCSF rejected proposals to increase the retirement age of health professionals.