Snr doctors join strike

Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu

SENIOR doctors and specialists have downed their “medical tools” in solidarity with junior and middle level doctors, a situation that has brought to a halt health service delivery at the country’s major hospitals.

Junior and middle level doctors went on strike last week saying they will only resume work if issues of locum payments, motor vehicles scheme, availability of equipment and medicines at hospitals and freeze of vacant positions have been addressed.

In a letter addressed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals chief executive officer, Mrs Nonhlanhla Ndlovu dated 9 March, the hospital’s senior doctors and specialists said they were also joining the industrial action.

“Following the strike by the juniors and the ministry postponing discussions to a later date, we are currently overwhelmed with the workload. We are officially joining the industrial action until the issues raised by our colleagues have been resolved,” read part of the letter.

The doctors said only one doctor will be covering the whole institution until Tuesday for emergencies of which thereafter there will be none unless the matters are addressed.

“For the department of anaesthesia, one doctor will be covering all the emergencies from main hospital to maternity until Tuesday 13th of March to allow for a contingency plan to be made, thereafter there will be no anaesthetic HMO (House Medical Officer) or Registrar cover.”

At Mpilo Central Hospital the situation is still the same with no junior and middle level doctors not at work. Senior doctors were, however, still offering services. Meanwhile, at Harare Central Hospital where doctors are also on strike the hospital has resolved to cancel all elective operations and clinics in the division of Obstetrics and Gyneacology. In a letter to the chief executive officer, clinical director and heads of divisions, the doctors said they were implementing an emergency call roster covering weekends with each team providing cover during the day and night.