Doc­tors’ hear­ings clar­i­fied

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

DIS­CI­PLINARY hear­ings for ju­nior doc­tors who par­tic­i­pated in the month-long il­le­gal in­dus­trial ac­tion will pro­ceed as sched­uled and be con­ducted in a fair and trans­par­ent man­ner, the Min­istry of Health and Child Care has said.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Health and Child Care Sec­re­tary Dr Ger­ald Gwinji urged the doc­tors who were re­turn­ing to work to sub­ject them­selves to due process, say­ing in­for­ma­tion be­ing ped­dled that all who pre­sented them­selves for the hear­ings faced sum­mary dis­missal was “inac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing”.

“While we can­not de­ter­mine out­comes of dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dure, we would like to as­sure all the af­fected that fair and trans­par­ent dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dures are and will con­tinue to be car­ried out,” said Dr Gwinji.

He said as per the doc­tors’ re­quest, se­nior doc­tors had been in­cor­po­rated in the hear­ings as part of the tri­bunals and ob­servers to en­sure fair­ness and trans­parency of the process.

He said for those who re­sume duty, pro­vi­sions for ap­ply­ing for ad­vances on their salaries were still avail­able.

“The min­istry there­fore en­cour­ages the af­fected doc­tors to sub­ject them­selves to due pro­cesses and ap­pre­ci­ate the com­mit­ment of those who have pre­sented them­selves for this process. We thank those doc­tors who have re­sumed du­ties at their sta­tion,” he said.

The Health Ser­vices Board (HSB) fur­ther dis­missed al­le­ga­tions that it was con­duct­ing the dis­ci­plinary hear­ings, when the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment (CBA), ac­cord­ing to the doc­tors stated that hear­ings would be con­ducted by se­nior doc­tors.

“There is no de­vi­a­tion or con­tra­dic­tion as far as HSB is con­cerned. It’s just a con­tin­u­a­tion of a process that had al­ready started. The agree­ment pro­vided for the in­clu­sion of se­nior doc­tors dur­ing hear­ings and the board has in­cor­po­rated them in those cases that had not al­ready started,” said HSB chair­per­son Dr Pauli­nus Sikosana.

He, how­ever, said the board could not com­ment on the out­come of the hear­ings now since they were still on­go­ing.

“Dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings con­tinue as guided by the law for those pre­sent­ing and those not pre­sent­ing them­selves. The board will con­tinue to re­spect the rule of law in line with the de­ci­sion of the Labour Court and is com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing the CBA as signed by both par­ties,” he said.

He said de­spite con­tin­ued with­drawal of labour by some doc­tors, Gov­ern­ment re­mained com­mit­ted to all other con­ces­sions agreed upon in the CBA.

Dr Sikosana also dis­missed as lame al­le­ga­tions on so­cial me­dia that doc­tors who re­turned to work had been bribed.

The dis­ci­plinary hear­ings be­gan last week on Fri­day and as of Tues­day, 35 mem­bers had pre­sented them­selves, with 238 oth­ers de­fault­ing. By mid­day yes­ter­day, a to­tal of 187 ju­nior doc­tors had re­ported for work at their var­i­ous work sta­tions. It could not be es­tab­lished whether all the 187 had since gone through the dis­ci­plinary process.

The dis­ci­plinary hear­ings were ne­ces­si­tated by a Labour Court rul­ing that the in­dus­trial ac­tion, which en­ters day 39 to­day, was il­le­gal.

Mean­while 16 newly grad­u­ated ju­nior doc­tors who com­pleted their part five Bach­e­lor of Medicine and Bach­e­lor of Surgery de­grees at uni­ver­si­ties in Zim­babwe, and for­eign-trained doc­tors who suc­cess­fully sat for the Med­i­cal and Den­tal Prac­ti­tion­ers Coun­cil of Zim­babwe ex­am­i­na­tions have been ab­sorbed in the health sec­tor.

Dr Gwinji said the 16 had since been de­ployed to their in­sti­tu­tions of choice.

“A num­ber of them have made in­quiries and some have taken of­fer let­ters, which they will then present to the Med­i­cal and Den­tal Prac­ti­tion­ers Coun­cil for reg­is­tra­tion and im­me­di­ate de­ploy­ment to their in­sti­tu­tions of choice,” said Dr Gwinji.

Asked if re­cruit­ment of the new ju­nior res­i­dent med­i­cal of­fi­cers (JRMOs) would have a bear­ing on the read­mis­sion of JRMOs on strike, Dr Gwinji said this had noth­ing to do with re­place­ment of posts al­ready filled. “It is the norm that ev­ery year we re­cruit JRMOs and this year alone we had 90 open posts for the JRMOs, which these grad­u­ates are com­ing in to fill,” said Dr Gwinji.

He said this year alone, slightly above 100 stu­dents had suc­cess­fully com­pleted their Part V and were ready for in­tern­ship.

He, how­ever, said the fig­ure var­ied an­nu­ally.

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