Govt 'punishes' strike doctors

HARARE - Government has imposed three more months of internship for junior doctors who were on strike for the past three weeks.

In a March 6, 2017 letter to all hospital chief executives, Health ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji said all doctors who were away for 14 days-plus will have to do three more months of internship before they qualify to be moved to a district hospital for their final year of training.

This is despite an agreement not to take disciplinary action against the doctors that was signed by the Health Bipartite Negotiating Panel.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) president Edgar Munatsi yesterday declined to comment on the government’s latest shock move.

In the letter, copied to Health minister David Parirenyatwa, his deputy Aldrin Musiiwa, Health Services Board (HSB) chair Lovemore Mbengeranwa and others, Gwinji claimed the internship extension was in line with training rules and regulations.

“Junior doctors who were away from training for a period of 14 days and above will be required to repeat the rotations for three months with effect from March 6 to end May 2017,” he said.

“This is in compliance with the rules and regulations of training as issued by the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS) and the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ).”

Rotations are when doctors get to work in different medical speciality areas on a rotational basis. 

The doctors were supposed to have finished their internship on February 28 and then move to district hospitals for a year or remain at central hospitals for two months before they get open practice certificates.

Doctors have been demanding that government release open practice certificates after completion of internship, as it could not accommodate the doctors for further training at the country’s health institutions. 

Government then offered 250 posts for the doctors, which remain inadequate, according to the doctor’s association.

Junior doctors went on strike on February 15 and they have since resumed work with effect from March 6 following agreement reached at the Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel on March 3.

“Communication on issues agreed on will be shared once the relevant authorities have been received from the board and Treasury,” Gwinji said.

“One of the agreements was that the members who withdrew their labour will forfeit vacation leave days in lieu of days not worked by the principle of no-work no-pay. All health workers are expected to clock-in for an audit trail in the payment of health worker retention allowance.”

Gwinji said that doctors who qualified with a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) in 2017 would be deployed to commence internship with effect from April 1, 2017.

Comments (1)

The bullies have reversed this decision after the doctors threatened to go on another strike over that bullish behavior,

XG - 9 March 2017

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