Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, has brokered a deal with striking doctors by offering them a 60 percent increase in allowances and ordered all health workers to report to work tomorrow or face disciplinary action for breaching their contracts.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Moyo said the Health Services Bipartite Negotiating Panel (HSBNP) agreed to a 60 percent increase on Health Specific Allowances despite the doctors walking out on the negotiations.
“ . . . the doctors’ representatives walked out on the negotiations as they preferred a higher percentage. The 60 percent was an improvement on the previous offer by Government of 30 percent which was rejected by the Health Apex Council,” he said.
Dr Moyo said they were, however, appalled by the conduct of the doctors whose duty is to save lives as they abandoned their work stations.
“Government is appalled that doctors have walked out from the negotiating table and from their patients who are in need of their dire care. Government is grateful to those doctors who remained at their posts of duty delivering care, saving lives and alleviating suffering. For the sake of saving lives and patients we now call on all doctors to (Ministry of Health and University Consultants) to report to their posts of duty on Monday the 7th of October 2019. Those who fail to do so are reminded that they are in breach of their contacts of employment and will face disciplinary action,” he said.
Dr Moyo said the proposed new allowance rates would cover night duty allowance, nurse managers allowance, on call allowance, special health allowance and a standby/call out allowance.
“The parties to the meeting also agreed on the locum rates for nurses and paramedics to be reviewed from the current $4 to $16 per day hour and from $6 to $24 per night hour.
“Locum rates for doctors were also reviewed from the current $7 to $28 per day hour and from $10 to $40 per night hour,” he said.
Dr Moyo said uniform grant was reviewed from $75 to $300, uniform maintenance allowance moved up from $75 to $300 while those who are in the psychiatric department will see an increase in allowance from $20 to $100 per month. Out of residence allowance has been reviewed from $250 to $500 each month while post basic allowance now stands at $150 from $70 each month and additional post basic allowance would be increased from $10 to $25 per month for the first additional qualification.
Dr Moyo stressed that the Government was concerned with the working conditions of doctors.
Our Harare Bureau understands that the latest offer tabled by Government, will see senior doctors pocketing between $8 000 and $11 000 monthly in salaries and allowances while junior doctors earn slightly less.
“Government has shown its sincerity by continuously engaging the health workers to address their challenges including implementing programmes that ensure that they have the needed medicines and equipment to deliver health care. Their remuneration packages have been reviewed constantly in the context of the obtaining economic climate,” said Dr Moyo.
Doctors, who downed tools weeks ago, had argued that they were unable to continue reporting for duty citing poor working conditions and poor salaries together with lack of adequate working equipment at central hospitals.
Contacted for comment Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Associating acting vice-president Dr Dean Ndoro said doctors rejected the offer but were still looking at the other contents of the Minister’ statement.
He said doctors were also pulling out of the Health Apex Council. Sources said doctors wanted to be paid at United States dollar interbank rate.
“We have peculiar grievances which are unique to ourselves and the Bipartite Negotiating Panel is not addressing them. We are seeking an alternative association to belong to,” he said.