Doctors negotiate in bad faith: Govt
VP Chiwenga said, Government notes with concern the political overtones which the labour issue has now assumed, including attempts by the striking doctors to appeal to constituencies which have nothing to do with health delivery or their employment contracts.
“In the meantime, Government will not allow any demonstrations at medical facilities whose purpose is to treat patients and ensure their full recovery,” he said.
The Acting President said mindful of the recent Labour Court judgement which ruled the industrial action unlawful and in the interest of the patients who stand affected by the unlawful action by striking doctors, Government has now decided to urgently explore other ways of ensuring that this essential health service is stabilised while more lasting measures are put in place to normalise the situation.
He said Government will be making further recommendations in the coming days and would continue to import essential medicines and accessories vital to health delivery to ensure effective health services to its people.
Cde Chiwenga said conditions of service for all civil servants would be reviewed later this year in line with budgetary allocations but ruled out paying of salaries in foreign currency
The Acting President said Government will fulfil all the commitments it has made to all health workers who continue to serve the nation and has also made an undertaking to review conditions for all workers in the Public Service Sector within the second quarter of this year consistent with the national budget cycle.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Government will not remunerate any of its workforce in United States dollars, a position it made very clear to the striking doctors. Government does not print United States dollars. The hard earned foreign currency will be committed to, among others areas importing essential medicines for use in hospitals and clinics as well as to facilitate the recovery of the economy, in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme,” said Cde Chiwenga.
Acting President Chiwenga said Government, in line with the Court order, had asked the Health Services Board to take appropriate action against the striking doctors whose conduct has been declared unlawful and is contrary to the Hippocratic Oath ethic and international best practices.
“Further the Oath warns that without it ‘the doctor is a skilled technician or labourer whose knowledge fits him for an occupation but not a profession’. International best practices which govern doctors and interns provides that doctors should not abandon patients and posts ; and that they should bring forward their grievances while making sure loss of life or unnecessary pain and suffering is avoided. By going against the Hippocratic Oath, the striking doctors have shown their callous insensitivity to human life pain and suffering,” he said.
The Acting President thanked senior doctors who have kept services going, doctors in private practice, in private health institutions, retirees, expatriates, foreign based and trained Zimbabweans for offering their services in the interest of patients.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information , Publicity and Broadcasting Services on Tuesday evening announced that President Mnangagwa was cutting short his leave to deal with the doctors’ crisis.
“I have cut short my leave to be in immediate and active consultation with the Acting President in resolving the situation in the Health Sector” said President ED Mnangagwa,” read the tweet. — @AuxiliaK.