The Ministry of Health and Child Care has suspended 266 nurses at Bulawayo United Hospitals (UBH) and 211 at Mpilo Central Hospital, the two major hospitals in Bulawayo.
The nurses were served with suspension letters for not reporting for duty and they are expected to appear before a disciplinary hearing next week.
UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcisius Dzvanga said the suspended nurses ignored the Ministry’s directive for nurses to report for duty 40 hours per week following the termination of the flexible working arrangement. Said Dzvanga:
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There are about 266 who have been served with suspension letters. This is not being done by UBH but by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Government said anyone who did not obey the circular (to report for duty) must be disciplined first before coming back to work.
This is a countrywide thing because we are moving from the flexi working hours where nurses used to work three days in and four days off.
The Health Minister (Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga) and Permanent Secretary (Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza) said nurses should work a 40-hour week again.
It is these defiant nurses who have been served with suspension letters and will appear before a disciplinary hearing.
It is procedural just like at any other work if you don’t report for work you go through some disciplinary processes.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said he hoped the government will expedite the disciplinary process so that patients will not be made to suffer.
The suspension of nearly 500 nurses at Bulawayo’s two major hospitals comes after Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 1 280 nurses faced disciplinary action countrywide for failing to report for duty.