THE situation at the country’s major public hospitals has deteriorated to alarming levels, with patients reportedly dying on stretcher beds before being attended to, while most wards are virtually empty as nurses and doctors continue with their industrial action.
Yesterday, a gloomy cloud hovered over Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals after more than 50% of the nursing population stayed away, with patients being turned away in droves.
This came as the Labour Court ruled against the industrial action, but the doctors dismissed the ruling as a nullity, saying they remained financially incapacitated.
Justices Lawrence Murasi and Rodgers Manyangadze, who presided over the matter, ordered the striking medical staff to report for duty within 48 hours and censured government against taking disciplinary action against them.
“Members of the respondents who participated in the said collective job action be and hereby ordered to report for duty within 48 hours from the date of this order and the applicant shall be entitled to take disciplinary action against members of respondents who fail or neglect to comply with the order,” the judges ruled.
“Applicant (government) shall not take any disciplinary action against members of the respondent who participated in the collective job action from September 2019 up to the date of the order.”
The judges referred the case to an arbitrator, who should deal with the issue within 14 days.
At their last meeting on Thursday, the health professionals said they could no longer sustain themselves and needed their employer to relook their grievances, which include salaries commensurate with the bank rate.
“Our contracts have salaries pegged in US dollars, so the employer must consider aligning our salaries with the current interbank rate.
“Look at us, look at my plastic shoes, my unkempt hair. Do I look like a nurse?” a nurse who declined to be named asked rhetorically.