Governments pleads with striking doctors

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

HEALTH Minister Obadiah Moyo has pleaded with striking doctors to return to work for the sake of their suffering patients.

The doctors have been on industrial action for over a month demanding a review of their working conditions.

“Those who fail to do so will be in breach of their contracts of employment and will face disciplinary action,” said Moyo.

On Saturday Moyo told journalists at a media briefing that government has shown its sincerity continuously engaging the health workers to address their challenges.

“Their remuneration packages have been reviewed consistently in the context of the obtaining economic climate.

“Government is therefore appalled that doctors have walked out from the negotiating table and from their patients who are in dire need of their care,” the Health Minister said.

According to Moyo, on Friday all parties to the Health Services Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP), agreed to a 60% increase on Health Sector Specific Allowances.

However, the doctors’ representatives walked out of the negotiations, as they preferred a higher percentage.

“The 60% increase was an improvement on the previous offer by government of 30% which was rejected by the health apex council,” Moyo told journalists.

“The new allowances cover Night Duty Allowances, Nurse Managers Allowances, On-Call allowances, special health allowances and a Standby/Call out Allowance.”

He added: “The parties to the meeting also agreed on locum rates for Nurses and Paramedics to be reviewed from $4 to $16 per day hour, and from $6 to $24 per night.

“Locum rates for doctors were also reviewed from the current $7 to $28 per day hour, and from $10 to $40 per night hour.”

The Minister went on to say that uniform allowance has been reviewed from $75 to $300, uniform maintenance ($75 to $300, psychiatric ($20 to $100) per month, out of residence ($250 to $500) per month and post basic allowance reviewed from $70 to $150 per month whilst additional post basic allowance would be increased from $10 to $25 per month from the additional qualification.