PART-TIME GOVERNMENT DOCTORS
I MAY not have all the details, but this is my take on this issue.
Like everyone else, doctors should observe professional ethics which should not be compromised by monetary wants.
Doctors employed by the GRZ should pledge allegiance to the GRZ and be seen to be serving their pay master, period.
GRZ pays them salaries which they accepted and in turn they promised to serve the people by being present on their jobs not only in body but in mind and spirit as well.
But, what currently obtains is that a doctor who is supposed to be on duty at the UTH, say, between 07:00hrs and 16:00hrs is instead at the hospital from 09:30hrs to 12:30hrs only, then breaks off for lunch.
After that they are not seen again. In between the doctor is at a private clinic doing private job (PJ). This robs the patients at UTH the chance to be attended to by that doctor.
Not only that, the UTH has to find money to pay that doctor's full salary plus all the attendant demands for allowances, tools, equipment, etc.
Therefore, who is robbing whom? Yes, they can do their PJs perhaps, but they should be fully available when on duty at UTH. This calls to mind the need for monitoring mechanisms to be put in place.
If the doctor says that they will do PJs during their off time, that's fine but the problem is that they will next report for duty at UTH very tired, functioning on quarter tanks of energy, and find some room somewhere to catch up on their sleep. That's easier done at UTH than at a private hospital where they are seriously monitored. This still denies quality service to the patients and robbing the UTH of valuable man- (or woman-) hours.
To me it appears as if they associate with UTH for job and financial security such as retirement benefits, GRZ-funded workshops, further training, etc, but their hearts are somewhere else. If UTH is not paying them enough, then why not quit and join the private sector which is more attractive? Why this double dealing which is unpatriotic Turning the coin, we find investors in private health services, the private hospitals.
Those people are just milking the government of money, because they do not have many doctors on their pay role, but part-timers who are on the GRZ payroll.
They are also party to the misery that patients at GRZ hospitals are going through as a result of these unholy alliances and cartels. This leads to the artificial shortage of GRZ doctors. This also is very unpatriotic. The private sector should employ their own personnel instead of behaving like mercenaries.
They claim to offer services for which they do not have personnel on their payrolls.
Lastly, the authorities charged with monitoring qualifications and deployment of medical personnel seem to be sleeping on duty.
They need to know which doctor is employed by which hospital, which hospital has personnel to offer what service, etc. What is coming out of this fantastic move by the GRZ, is that the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) ought to revisit their mandate and terms of reference and become visible in this saga.
What we have are in fact part-time doctors at UTH! Senior Citizen, Lusaka.