Striking doctors fail to turn up for hearings

Source: Striking doctors fail to turn up for hearings | The Herald November 2, 2019

Striking doctors fail to turn up for hearings

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Defiant striking doctors are likely to receive varying judgments depending on circumstances surrounding each case, amid failure by the first batch of 81 to attend disciplinary hearings scheduled for yesterday. Sources close to the issue claimed that most of the striking doctors were likely to get first warnings, while others who already had first warnings are likely to be dismissed, with some having salary forfeitures.

This followed continued defiance by the doctors not only to return to work as ordered by the Labour Court which ruled their mass job action illegal last month, but also failure to appear before the disciplinary hearings citing incapacitation.

The hearings went ahead at all central hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo, despite the absence of the junior doctors.

Health Services Board chairperson Dr Paulinus Sikosana yesterday said as alluded to previously, Government was following all due processes as provided for in the Labour Act.

“They (doctors) didn’t turn up for the hearings, but as alluded to yesterday (Thursday), we are following the right procedure which provides for going ahead with disciplinary hearings whether the doctor is present or not,” he said. Dr Sikosana said the board was not at liberty to disclose the outcome of the hearings that would be communicated directly to each doctor.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) acting secretary-general Dr Tawanda Zvakada said as indicated in their official communication earlier, they were not going to attend the hearings. He said while some doctors were scheduled to appear for the hearings yesterday, others were to appear on November 7.

Some did not receive the notices for the hearings, said Dr Zvakada.

Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Agnes Mahomva dismissed reports that the striking doctors were about to be snatched up by some countries in the region.

She said foreign countries, just like Zimbabwe, did not recruit student doctors for their health facilities, but such doctors can apply to foreign universities to complete their internship in those universities.

Junior doctors stopped reporting for work on September 3, citing incapacitation.

Efforts by Government to negotiate with the doctors to return to work were fruitless as the doctors insisted they wanted their salaries to be pegged at the prevailing interbank rate.

Senior doctors also joined in the strike in support of their juniors, also demanding their on-call allowances to be pegged at the interbank rate.