Doctors have rejected government’s new offer of contracts, describing them as ”íllegal poorly drafted’ the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said on Wednesday.
Industry regulator, the Health Services Board (HSB), recently announced regulation that tie down all new doctors to contract based employment. A doctor can now be fired within only a month’s notice.
The doctors say the contract is vague and does not stipulate how much a doctor earns nor does it guarantee the payment of on-call allowances, their most pressing demands.
”After a week of nationwide consultation with its members, the Zimbabwe’s Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) unanimously rejected the ill advised and poorly drafted contract for junior doctors proposed by the HSB,” the association’s president, Dr F Nyamande said in a statement.
‘‘Contracts were drafted without any formal consultation with the ZHDA, which sits in the Health Services Bipartite negotiating Forum in which all health workers and government team of negotiators sit on monthly basis to discuss contractual issue.”
The ZHDA has now petitioned the President’s office, Cabinet and Parliament to intervene in the dispute with the HSB, it said notifying them of the constitutional flaw and irregularities in the proposed contract.”
The Doctors are unhappy at the Health Services Board disregard of the essential services doctors provide, on low pay, including its reference to junior doctors as ”medical students.”
They want the board dissolved,”as it has become a breeding ground for quarrels with doctors, nurses and other health workers on seemingly trivial agendas.”
Dr Nyamande said the Health Services Board ”has totally become irrelevant, defunct, directionless, vindictive and infested by a bloated secretariat that does not only serve their selfish and petty minded interests which are clearly outside the pursuance of national interest..”
Government, doctors and nurses have been on a war path for several years due to low pay.
Since last year, junior doctors have demanded a 400 percent salary hike to $1200 per month, excluding allowances.
A strike in October last year left major referrals hospital like Parirenyatwa struggling.
In January, the doctors threatened to join in a nurses’ strike.
Junior doctors make up 95 percent of doctors in public hospitals. But with the political leadership including the state president and his wife constantly leaving the country to receive medical attention in other countries, some citizens questioned the government’s commitment to solve the matter.
‘How can the government care about the plight of the sick here when they all get treated outside the country?” said Sam Chibanda a resident of Harare.