Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
MPILO Central Hospital will next week fully open its outpatient department as 75 percent of junior doctors who were on strike are back at work.
In an interview yesterday, Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said 38 doctors of the 51 who were fired for misconduct have since returned to work.
“Most of the doctors are back at work. Only 13 out of 51 who were fired are yet to report for duty. The latest one reported for duty today,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said their return to work will see the biggest referral hospital in the southern region increasing its services to the public.
“We are happy that they (junior doctors) have come back because they were not benefiting anything (from their strike). Their training was not going on. It was causing inconvenience to patients.
“To us, it was our outpatient department which was mainly affected. We are envisaging fully opening up the outpatient department that was partially opened. It was not closed completely. We will probably open it next week when we resume full scale operations,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said the public will be notified when the outpatient department is fully operational.
The doctors who reported for duty are part of the 448 who were recently fired by the Health Service Board for misconduct, after disciplinary hearings.
The hearings were conducted after the courts dismissed their strike as illegal but they remained defiant claiming to be incapacitated and did not report for duty.
The impasse between junior doctors and the employer saw Catholic bishops meeting President Mnangagwa in trying to come up with a solution.
This resulted in the President issuing a moratorium for them to report for duty within 48 hours without being questioned.
However, some of the doctors remained defiant insisting that they be paid their salaries in foreign currency or equivalent in local currency, which the Government has said it cannot afford.
Some of them only started reporting for duty after the Higher Life Foundation (HLF) came up with a $100 million fellowship programme to incentivise practitioners in the health sector for between six and 12 months.
HLF last month further launched a crowd funding “support our hospitals” initiative to capacitate public health institutions with requisite materials so that they effectively deliver on their mandate.
Those willing to contribute to the initiative can deposit funds on EcoCash biller code number 78390. — @nqotshili.