Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
NORMALCY has returned to public hospitals following the recruitment of qualified but previously unemployed nurses and readmission of those who had been dismissed but reapplied successfully, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said yesterday.
He told a Press conference in Harare that a majority of the 5 974 nurses who went on strike last Monday applied for readmission and Government had since instructed institutions to take them back.
The full complement of nurses employed in the public health sector is 16 974.
“Services in our hospitals have since returned to normal utilising those nurses who did not participate in the industrial action, beefed up by the recruitment of qualified nurses who were not in employment as well as nurses below 70 years who were retired,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
“In addition, all nurses who were on official leave were recalled to duty,” he said.
“The majority of nurses who were dismissed have since re-applied for re-engagement and Government has permitted them to resume duty pending final approval from the employer (Health Services Board),” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He said hospitals were given specific quotas in addition to already existing establishments to recruit more nurses from those qualified but unemployed and retired nurses between the ages of 55 and 70 years old.
“As we carry out these recruitment processes, we have allocated specific quotas per institution of new registered general nurses to recruit. Institutions are directed to recruit to the maximum allocated figure. We have enough qualified nurses who are unemployed to fill these allocated quotas,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He expressed dismay over last week’s decision by the nurses to down tools when Government was working towards addressing not only their concerns but also all other health profession categories.
Dr Parirenyatwa said Government was looking into the outstanding issues and promised to resolve them urgently.
He applauded nurses who did not take part in the industrial action for prioritising the welfare of patients.
Nurses went on strike demanding a review of their allowances and rationalisation of the grading system.