JUNIOR doctors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have ended their strike and will report back to work after a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
The doctors downed tools on Thursday in a bid to press the government to review its decision to scrap the $300 housing allowances they were getting to force them to stay in government accommodation.
Hospital authorities had referred the doctors to the Ministry of Health and Child Care after failing to resolve the issue which caused the doctors to engage in a job action.
President of the Hospital Doctors’ Association of Zimbabwe Arthur Mhizha said they had met with the acting permanent secretary and nothing concrete had come out of that meeting.
“The dialogue did not yield anything so we have decided in the meantime to report to our work stations while we map a way forward,” he said.
The doctors said they would attend to some patients as they were waiting for communication from their lawyers whom they have engaged.
But Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals chief executive officer Thomas Zigora yesterday said no doctor was being forced to take up institutional accommodation.
“Doctors who choose to stay in privately secured accommodation will continue to receive the residence allowance and no attempt has been made to change this,” he said.
“Those who choose to take up the offer of institutional accommodation are, in terms of existing policy, not eligible for the residence allowance.”
Zigora said no allowances had been scrapped. He said the allowances came about when housing units for doctors were no longer enough to cater for all due to the increased output from the medical school.
“It was agreed then, and rightly so, that since government had an obligation to provide accommodation for the junior doctors, they should similarly reimburse them for the rentals they would need to pay in private accommodation,” he said. “It was at this point that the residence allowance was introduced and pegged at $250 per month.”
“This residence allowance has, since inception several years ago, only been paid to those interns who are not resident on site at the hospital. This position remains now, exactly as it was at inception and there has, therefore, been no change whatsoever.”