Press Release on Professional Ethics for House Officers/Interns
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria MDCN regulates medical and dental practice in Nigeria including clinical laboratory practice by members of the professions as stipulated by the provisions of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act Cap M8 LFN 2004 and the various subsidiary legislative documents flowing therefrom.
Due to the recent development in the health sector, Council is constrained to issue this public notice as guidance to practitioners and the general public.
Medical and dental practitioners on the Provisional Register who are employed as House Officers (Interns), heads of health institutions where Internship Training for medical or dental graduates are conducted and the general public should note the provisions of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act in sections 1(2c), 8, 11, 12, the Rules and Guidelines that flow therefrom including the Code of Medical Ethics in Nigeria (2008 Ed) and Guidelines on Registration.
- Provisional Registration is for the purpose of enabling young doctors undertake internship training in an approved hospital under the supervision of registered specialists. Provisional registration lapses after two years or immediately a doctor is signed off from internship. Generally, it is expected that on employment, interns should complete their postings within 12 calendar months.
- During the internship, doctors and dentists are required to undertake 12 weeks’ uninterrupted postings in each of Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Paediatrics and other relevant specialties for dentistry. Any interruption for any reason, including embarking on strike actions, during any of the postings, will not be condoned and should be reported immediately to the Chief Medical Director, Medical Director or Medical Superintendent of the internship training Institution.
Section 2d paragraph (iii) of Guidelines on Registration (2003 ed.) prescribes that “A supervising doctor who fails in his duties in this regard is liable to proceedings being commenced against him at the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal if his misdeed in the matter is brought to the notice of Council.”
Embarking on strike actions by interns will lead to repeating of the posting(s) afresh without remuneration. Interns are therefore advised to avoid participation in activities like industrial actions that could lead to interruption in their postings.
- Medical and dental practitioners should note that provisional registration does not guarantee automatic admittance to the Full Register. Full Registration is granted only on satisfactory completion of internship training.
- Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors and Medical Superintendents should note their responsibility to ensure that all doctors over whom they have administrative charge, abide by all extant regulations.
This public notice is hereby made for the purpose of guidance of the members of the profession and the general public.
Dr. T.A.B. Sanusi
Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria