Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has denied reports that doctors went on strike yesterday telling the media during a cabinet briefing that they were advising him on some issues they were not happy about.
Yesterday, doctors reportedly went on strike complaining that they did not have resources to use in their work including bandages which they said patients were having to recycle due to shortages.
But Obadiah Moyo flatly denied it was a strike.
Below is a the letter doctors wrote to the minister announcing their industrial action;
To: The Group CEO
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals
Re: Service provision at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals
Background of problems
As you are aware Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals has been facing challenges since November 2018 with a prolonged industrial action. One of the major grievances which culminated into the industrial action was the persistent shortage of basic essential drugs, equipment and sundries. As consultants who were and are concerned with return to normalcy, we stepped in and persuaded the junior doctors to return to work in good faith that our parent ministry would improve the supply of the basic consumables. However, the situation with regards to medical consumables and equipment is now even worse than it was in December 2018. This has continued to cause severe compromise in the safety and working conditions of staff and a reduced capacity to deliver services to patients. We feel that these compounding factors have compromised patient care, putting patients’ health and lives at risk at the very institution which is supposed to restore health and life.
Current service provision
Since the beginning of the year we have been unable to resume normal service, especially in the areas of anaesthesia, surgery and critical care due to the above-mentioned constraints. We have tried to make adjustments to no avail. Currently most surgical firms are only operating on elective patients twice a month. Statistics show that for January and February this year, we have operated less than 20% of the elective cases that we were doing in same period in 2018. For emergencies, the time taken before the patient goes to theatre is now unnecessarily to long as their relatives have to privately source for the necessary supplies. Furthermore, patients with simple conditions like appendicitis and diabetic foot ulcers are going for days without the required antibiotics leading to unnecessary complications. This is just one simple example of the dire conditions patients are currently facing.
As the consultants of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, we have decided to rationalize use of the limited and very finite resources that are currently available. We are now forced with immediate effect to further scale down the services which we are offering, to deal with dire emergencies only until the situation normalizes.
The currently available resources might not be able to sustain the emergency service provision beyond the end of the month.
We thank you and the clinical director for giving us some insight into your efforts to address the issues at hand. As consultants, our hearts bleed because of what is prevailing and feels that if we continue pretending we can offer full services we would be complicit in the deaths of our patients. In this vein we have urgently sort for audience with the Honourable Minister of Health and hope he will put efforts to address these grave concerns.
Consultants of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals