About 200 nurses have been suspended from public hospitals in Bulawayo and will soon appear before disciplinary hearings after they reportedly absconded from work following the recent re-introduction of 40 hour shifts by the government.
This comes after Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Jasper Chimedza ordered all nurses to revert back to the 40-hour working week system after scrapping their flexible working hours system.
All the nurses who did not report for duty were served with suspension letters.
In an interview with CITE, President of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), Enock Dongo said the organisation had gathered that the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) had suspended about 90 nurses.
“That is the figure we have now and as for Mpilo Central Hospital, we are yet to collect data as the officials stopped issuing the suspension letters,” he said.
UBH Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Narcisius Dzvanga told CITE the nurses’ suspension was a countrywide exercise carried out by all the central hospitals.
“This is not a UBH action only. The suspended nurses are to go for disciplinary hearings where they will plead for their cases, maybe they will be reinstated depending on their employer,” he said.
Dr Dzvanga said UBH had not yet set the dates for the disciplinary hearings, as they were waiting for instructions from the Head Office.
“Remember this is a top down instruction, our papers have not even left the station. We are not in a position to say when the disciplinary hearings will be done here. The papers are yet to be sent to the SSB (Salary Service Bureau) and the HSB (Health Service Bureau) then we convene this side and send the results afterwards to Harare. So this is a countrywide exercise,” he said.
Acting Chief Executive Officer for Mpilo Central Hospital, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, said “98 nurses had been served with suspension letters.”
Nurses have been working shorter hours since November 2019 to compensate for their low salaries while ZINA insists they will continue with the flexi working system until the government reviews their salaries.