THE total number of doctors who have been served with termination of employment letters has risen to 211 from 70, as purging of what government has described as dissident doctors continues.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
According to the Health Service Board (HSB), 211 striking doctors have been fired for going on a job action which the Labour Court deemed unlawful alongside playing truant to the disciplinary hearings.As of November 5, the number of doctors dismissed from work stood at 77.
To date, 279 doctors have been served with charge letters, 213 hearings completed and 211 doctors found guilty of absenting themselves from duty without leave or reasonable cause for days ranging from five or more.
“The 211 doctors found guilty have been discharged from the health service. Three (3) doctors appeared in person before the disciplinary tribunals and two (2) doctors had their determinations reserved pending verification of their cases,” said HSB chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikhosana in a statement.
Giving the background leading to the latest development, Dr Sikhosana said they held meetings with the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), senior doctors, and the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH)
“Cognizant of the need for continuous dialogue with its employees, on 10 October 2019, the Health Service Board met with both the Senior and Junior doctors. On 29 October 2019, the HSB again met the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) in the presence of the Executive Director for the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) where the ZHDA presented a position paper.
“Again, the ZHDA demanded the pegging of their salaries to the prevailing interbank rate as a precondition for their return to work,” he said.
He added that in line with section 4 of the Labour Act (National Employment Code of Conduct), the disciplinary hearings continue, whereby 516 out of 1,601 medical doctors employed in the public sector are expected to appear before the disciplinary tribunals.
Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday told journalists that they are making every effort to increase the salaries to make sure the salaries are decent.
“We are making every effort to increase the salaries to make sure the salaries are decent. It’s never easy, we are facing high inflation due to the reforms that we have undertaken. We will do everything we can to make sure the salaries are decent and decent services as well. Also the rewards are also non-monetary.
“For example the fact that all civil servants can now import cars duty free. We are also trying to provide accommodation, transport subsidies as well. As I speak now tomorrow we are going to be handing over buses and that’s part of the subsidies. We are doing quite a lot in terms of monetary and non-monetary measures to support our civil servants including the doctors,” he said.