Junior doctors get new contracts

HARARE - Health Services Board (HSB) has availed a new contract to junior doctors which the ministry of Health hopes will bring back “normalcy” to State health institutions.

This comes as the union that represents junior doctors had escalated its dispute with the government over new contracts, with emergency cover being withdrawn for State-run health institutions.

The new contract was availed over the weekend in which junior doctors will receive a total monthly package of $895 before deductions. Transport, on call and housing allowances, are included in the total package.

“The ministry reserves the right to withhold payment if the intern does not report for duty during the month or reduce amount payable proportional to the number of days absent without good cause,” states the junior doctors’ conditions of service.

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji said the adjusted contract had been sent to the chief executive officers of central hospitals.

“The board, in consultation with the ministry and senior colleagues from the central hospitals has looked at the areas of concern raised by the recently qualified doctors and made the relevant adjustments to the contracts,” Gwinji told the Daily News.

“The adjusted contract has been forwarded to the CEOs of central hospitals for administering. We look forward to a compliment of new junior resident medical officers.”

Junior doctors had refused to sign a government contract of employment claiming it violates women’s rights and fair labour practice.

It still remains to be seen how the junior doctors will take the new contracts as they state that women will not be eligible for paid maternity leave until they have served a year.

The doctors were supposed to have commenced their duties at the beginning of this month but did not do so arguing their contract was not clear on salaries, allowances and non-cash incentives.

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