The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to include pharmacists, nurses and other medical professionals in the board of the teaching hospitals.

The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards Etc.) Act, Cap. U15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Restructure the Composition of the Governing Board, Review the Nomenclature of the Heads of the Hospitals, Redefine the Qualifications of the Heads of the Hospitals, Provide a Definite Tenure of Office of the Heads of the Hospitals, Including Students of Health Sciences in the Training Programmes of the Hospitals and include Hospitals Established Post–Enactment of the Extant Legal Framework in the Schedule.’

According to the bill, sponsored by a member of the House, Bamidele Salam, the proposal seeks to review the terminology of the heads of the hospitals (Chief Medical Director).

It also sought to redefine the qualification of the head of hospitals, provide a definite tenure of office of the heads of the hospitals, including students of Health Sciences in the training programmes of the hospitals, and include hospitals established post-enactment of the extant legal framework.

Leading the debate on the bill at the second reading on Wednesday, Salam noted that in the United Kingdom, to become a hospital administrator, one does not have to be a medical practitioner.

“All you need is to be a graduate from high school (four years); obtain a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business administration or a clinical discipline (four years); and a master’s degree in healthcare administration (MHA) or a related graduate degree (two years), he said.

The lawmaker also noted that in the United States, “there is no specific path to follow to get a hospital administrator’s job.” He added, “You may begin your career in some other role with that goal in mind – some start as doctors or nurses – and be promoted to the position.

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“However, it is common for hospital administrators to earn a relevant degree, and an increasing number of employers now require a master’s as well.”

He added, “It is clear from the above cross-country discussion that to be appointed as a Chief Executive Officer, one does not have to be a medical doctor. Persons with bachelor’s (degree) in Management or Administration with requisite experience can be appointed to head a hospital.

“Similarly, in the composition of the board of the hospitals, other critical stakeholders were not included. Greater attention was only paid to medical doctors.

“Against this background, this bill is proposed to address all these challenges and include all other health professionals in the capacity building and administration of the Federal Hospitals in Nigeria and related issues.”

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