EDITORIAL COMMENT: Govt, doctors must meet to chart the way forward

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The impasse between junior doctors whose strike entered day 22 today and Government, cannot be allowed to continue. Government says it has met some of the doctors’ demands but doctors are insisting that Government is yet to meet their demands hence they are continuing with the strike.

In a statement Government said the doctors’ on-call allowance has been reviewed upwards by 50 percent and the payment of outstanding locum claims started last month. It also said night duty allowance has been reviewed upwards by 50 percent and Standby/Call Out allowance has also been reviewed upwards by 50 percent.

The Government said it has re-introduced a Post Basic Allowance for nursing staff who acquire approved additional qualifications up to a maximum of two qualifications and has also introduced Nurse Management Allowance for nurse managers in recognition of added clinical responsibilities.

A vehicle revolving fund of $10 million has been availed to provide loans for those doctors intending to buy cars. The Government said it disbursed $22 million from the Health Levy Fund last December to boost stocks of medicines and medical sundries at Government hospitals.

The doctors are saying they cannot return to work to just stare and watch patients suffering and dying as a result of shortage of drugs and other essentials.

They say the situation has not improved at Government hospitals and as such they do not want to hoodwink citizens into believing that the hospitals are fully operational by returning to work.

What is clear is that Government is yet to engage the striking doctors. We appreciate the Government’s reponse to the demands of doctors and what it has offered so far but what is important is for the two parties to engage in order to agree on the way  forward.

Doctors, we want to believe, appreciate Government’s efforts in  growing the economy in order to benefit not only the health sector but all sectors.

Government should be able to convince the doctors on what it is capable of paying at the moment given the many competing priorities that include the health sector where, as rightly noted by doctors, hospitals need to have adequate drugs and other essentials. Government has already started addressing some of the health staff’s grievances and doctors should appreciate this.

It will be totally unreasonable for doctors to want all their grievances addressed at once given the level of performance of our economy. Many civil servants are not being paid what is commensurate with their profession and the work they are doing because of the limited resources at Government’s disposal and the health workers cannot be an exception.

We want to once again implore Government to engage the doctors so that they understand why it might take long to address some of their grievances while at the same time prioritising the provision of drugs and other essentials to enable the doctors to do their work.

What is comforting is that our doctors are saying they are concerned about the welfare of their patients and we want them to practically demonstrate this by resuming work as soon as possible. Let reason prevail over selfishness as we all strive to turn around the economy so that together we enjoy the benefits.

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  • Vumani

    Meanwhile the government has ordered that SSB to stop payment to doctors not attending work. The attitude of the military junta is quite appalling & grossly insensitive towards the plight of the sick & infirm. The junta has the audacity to plead economics for convenience the treasury in its last budget announcement indicated and revealed an astronomical allocation to ministry of defence to the detriment of essential health services. Surprisingly EDiots still have money to travel to AU meetings where they sit on the sidelines uninvited and ZEC officials are seen in Russia learning the tricks of election rigging ,not longer ago traditional chiefs were allocated 4×4 twin can vehicles. The Junta’s militant and dictatorial attitude places vulnerable people’s lives at risk. This is a government who say they are op en for business but will not address the underpayment and appalling working conditions for doctors in order to address the health inequalities for the ordinary citizens on the eve of an election. The EDiot government cabinet ministers have the privilege of accessing world class health care in South Africa and abroad they don’t care what happens to ordinary vulnerable citizens the elderly, the unemployed masses, the poor who rely solely on the benificence of public hospitals. This is a military junta which who like to be voted for in a few months. Mungangwa has a littered & colourful history of callousness & murderous disposition as exhibited by the Gukurahundi massacres this doctor saga is a stark reminder to those who have disregarded his evil past that he is man who does not empathise with other human beings as illustrated by the wheel chair bound Godfrey Majonga. The doctor saga is an illustration of what is to come if he is voted in as the next legitimate president. It didn’t take long for him to show his true colours a leopard does not change its spots overnight. Lest the electorate forget this is a man who has been Mugabe’s right hand man for the duration of Zimbabwe’s independence. Those who have registered to vote ,vote wisely the future of Zimbabwe is dependent on you. Do you want a government which priorities power & human suffering with no empathy the choice is yours. The EDiot led junta will trample on basic human rights with impunity without blinking eye this is a classic example of what to expect when you decide to legitimise their coupe by voting for them. The remnants of Mugabe regime need to be removed immediately as seen Gukurahundi and Itai Dzamara are not a myth the elements responsible want your vote. Munagagwa is blinded by the urge to legitimise his contentious ancession throne his side shows of suggesting Zimbabwe is open for business are a pack of lies given that a nation that is open for business prioritises its domestic issues for the welfare of its most vulnerable. Vote wisely if you vote ZANU you a voting for murderous vultures which leave you lying on hospital benches in agony awaiting a painful & inevitable death.