PART-TIME GOVERN­MENT DOC­TORS

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Dear Ed­i­tor,

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.

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