Doctors, govt impasse far from over

Dr Gerald Gwinji

It appears the impasse between the Health Services Board (HSB) and the striking 530 doctors and radiographers is still far from being settled.

The HSB maintains it is going to take action against the health professionals for going on an industrial action without following laid down procedures after the court ruled against the action.

The striking medical personnel through the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) are also maintaining they will not budge unless their concerns are addressed.

The latest development comes after the Labour Court ruled against the industrial action by the health professionals and gave them a 12 hour ultimatum to return to work.

Armed with the court order the HSB has said it will not pay the striking doctors and medical staff for the time they absented themselves from work and will take remedial action against them.

In response, the ZHDA said its members will not return to work unless their concerns are addressed.

While alive to the concerns raised by the striking doctors and medical personnel, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji said the unlawful job action by the doctors and medical staff is against the spirit of the ongoing talks to address the concerns affecting all health professionals.

The doctors and radiographers have been on industrial action since the 6th of this month and they have grievances on the unavailability of protective clothing, medicines and poor remuneration among others.

On the other hand government maintains it is hamstrung as Treasury is inundated with other obligations at a time the economy is not optimally performing.

Whilst the impasse continues it is the public which faces the brunt of the ongoing dispute.

This is worsened by the demand for US dollars for some medicines by some pharmacies.

It is hoped for the common good a lasting solution is reached.