The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Chukwu Abali Chukwu, has called on Nigeria’s federal government to raise the retirement age of consultants at the centres to 70 years.
The retirement age for all workers at the centres is 60 years, unlike at teaching hospitals where consultants, like other university professors, stay on in service until 70 years.
The gap created by the retirement of consultants in critical areas of medicine in most Federal Medical Centres in Nigeria, is said to be part of the challenges that has given rise to increase in medical trips outside the country.
Briefing journalists in Umuahia, according to a Channels Television news report, Mr. Chukwu urged the federal government to reconsider the 60 years retirement age for the consultants with a view to extending it to 70 years.
He said the 10 years extension would give the consultants time to train others before retiring.
Also, it will help equal the years with those of their counterparts in the teaching hospitals, he said.
“One of the major needs of every Nigerian is to get accessible health care delivery services, but how often the quest is met is better imagined,” he said.
Mr. Chukwu warned that the country would be losing a lot if nothing was done to fix the gap created by retired consultants.
“At the Federal Medical Centres, there seem to be adequate medical facilities in place; but lack of manpower, especially nurses, has left some of the wards vacant.
“I believe that if the government is able to extend the retirement age of some critical areas in medicine, then we would not be running around looking for more hands.
“The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses are critical, I do not see why they should retire at 60 years. The anaesthetic ICU doctors are critical, I do not see why they should retire at 60 years.
“If they retire earlier than they should, then the government is losing and something should be done about this retirement, because health care delivery requires expertise to bridge the gap in health sector development,” he stated.