Government hospitals ordered to recruit fired nurses' replacements

Government hospitals ordered to recruit fired nurses' replacements
Published: 19 April 2018 (132 Views)
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has ordered chief executive officers at Government hospitals and provincial medical directors to recruit nurses and replace those that were fired by Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) on Tuesday.

The nurses were dismissed after they refused to go back to work even though their employer had acceded to their demands and availed over $17 million.

The ministry advised the hospitals to recruit a maximum of 30 nurses at central hospitals, 20 at provincial hospitals, 15 at district hospitals, five at rural hospitals and one or two at rural health centres and clinics.

The ministry yesterday gave hospitals the green light to recruit nurses with effect from yesterday.

"Reference is made to the press statement by the VP Chiwenga on April 17, 2018. You are requested to recruit nurses to cover the gaps created by the nurses who were summarily discharged.

"Please, ensure that your relevant teams are in place to facilitate the recruitment and assumption of duty with effect from April 18, 2018 by retired and unemployed nurses," the ministry said in a statement.

The Health Services Board (HSB) also issued a statement yesterday urgently inviting applications from qualified unemployed registered general nurses, primary care nurses and retired nurses below the age of 70 to fill nursing posts in the health service.

"In the interim, all members who are on vacation leave, annual leave and nights off are instructed to report for duty with immediate effect.

"Interested applicants should submit their applications to their nearest central and provincial hospitals and the provincial medical directorate offices with immediate effect," said the HSB in the statement.

However, in a statement yesterday the Zimbabwe Nurses' Association (Zina) advised its members that the strike would continue despite the threats from the Government.

"Zina has taken note of the Press statement currently circulating on media platforms where Government alleges to have fired all striking nurses. We would want to urge our members to remain calm during these times.

"The position as already submitted to Government on behalf of Zina's suffering members remains the same. As a result we advise all nurses that nothing has changed thus far with regards to the industrial action which is ongoing," said the association.

The association's secretary general, Mr Enock Dongo, said they had not received the latest development from the ministry.

"We're only seeing the letter on social media platforms and we've not been officially informed about the developments. Even the nurses are yet to be served with the dismissal letters.

"The nurses have not reported for work because their demands have not been met and they were fired. We submitted our demands to the Government and if this is how they choose to handle our issues so be it," said Mr Dongo.

He said the association would take the matter to court, adding that the $17 million being referred to was what the nurses are owed by the Government. The Government has not even deposited the allowances into the nurses' accounts.

"The truth is that they are ignoring our issues. The $17 million is the total amount of arrears in allowances that the nurses are owed by the Government.

"We're not fighting the Government and there's nothing political about our communication with the Government. We simply want our concerns to be attended to and I believe we have the right to speak out," said Mr Dongo.

Some departments at hospitals in Bulawayo are still closed as nurses have decided to continue with the strike.

VP Chiwenga in his capacity as the supervisor of the social services cluster condemned the behaviour of the nurses, saying their behaviour was politically motivated.

He said Government released and transferred a sum of $17 114 446 into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child Care for on-payment to the striking nurses.

- chronicle

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