JUNIOR doctors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday downed tools to press the government to review its stance on housing allowances and improve their living and working conditions.
MOSES MATENGA/ FELUNA NLEYA
The action came after a unilateral announcement by government scrapping a $300 housing allowance to force doctors into government accommodation at the hospital.
The doctors also took the legal route with their lawyers Antonio and Dzvetero Legal Practitioners writing to the chief executive officer of the hospital threatening to approach the High Court on an urgent basis to resist moves to scrap the allowances.
The junior doctors spent the better part of yesterday in the boardroom while scores of patients were queuing for medical attention at the hospital.
Meetings with the hospital authorities failed to resolve the matter leaving the doctors with no option, but to engage in the collective job action they said must lead to improvement in their working conditions.
The junior doctors were reportedly earning more than $800 a month including $300 in housing allowances before the slashing was implemented.
Doctors last went on a strike in 2009, crippling the health delivery service.
A notice sent to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the principal director of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Health Services Board, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and CEO of the hospital stated that the action would go on until the doctors’ grievances are addressed.
Read the notice signed by Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association: “Re: Poor working conditions for doctors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. This notice serves to inform you that junior and senior resident medical officers (SMROs) working at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals will not be available in the wards, casualty and other service delivery departments with immediate effect.
“We are currently trying to solve the impasse over housing allowances which the hospital is deducting from us monthly. We hope a solution will be found soonest and they will all return to work as usual for the benefit of our patients.”
Another notice in all the wards at the hospital stated that all junior resident medical officers (JMROs)and their seniors were busy meeting the authorities over the housing issue and would only report to their work stations after the matter had been resolved.
“This serves to inform that all JMROs and SMROs are having a meeting with the Health Service Board, Clinical CEO and director of operations over housing issues. They will return to their respective stations as soon as the issue is addressed. Yours, hardworking doctors.”
When NewsDay visited the hospital late yesterday afternoon, the doctors were converging in the boardroom where they declared that no one was going to work until their issues were resolved.
President of the Hospital Doctors’ Association of Zimbabwe Arthur Mhizha said they met the authorities yesterday, but failed to get a clearer picture on the way forward.
“We met the board of directors and director of operations and they said nothing fruitful. We are not going back to work until the situation is rectified. No patient has been attended to as people are busy attending to these issues which we hope will be addressed soon,” Mhizha said.
CEO Thomas Zigora said: “The issue here is not only found at Parirenyatwa Hospital, but it affects all central hospitals.”
“I had a meeting with the doctors and I have since referred them to the permanent secretary.”