Parliamentarians have berated government doctors who neglect their duties in favour of their privately run surgeries.
This comes after members of parliament alleged that doctors who are supposed to attend to patients in their constituencies spend more time in their private surgeries where they charge exorbitant prices, which the general public cannot afford.
Responding to the concerns in Parliament, Wednesday, Health minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the ministry was doing all it could to make sure at least basic services were adequately delivered in all health facilities by the available doctors.
“We all want to see service being delivered at the institutions where people work and that has been my main thrust of late to make sure that people work. It is very relevant that we ensure that people attend to work and we are changing the culture of doctors not working accordingly. We want to make sure that our patients access maximum service,” said Dr Moyo.
Dr Moyo emphasised hospitals had contracts that doctors needed to adhere to in order for them to carry out their duties in a proper manner.
“We have a policy and it is standard in the statutes that people must be at work at the stipulated times. There are contractual obligations which have to be met by all employees including doctors. There are contracts and specified times at which people in the civil service should be at work,” he said.
“These may, however, vary in some occasions and there might be local arrangements with the individual institutions on the cover. You can imagine that a doctor might work for a period of over 36 hours on a continuous basis.
“They need to have some time off. This hence varies on a day to day basis and on an institutional basis but the reality is that whoever is contracted should follow the contracts as stipulated by Government or their employers.”
Dr Moyo said doctors do not have to necessarily clock in and out when they report for duty but however, they need to advise their superiors that they are there when they arrive.
“You will find that the senior consultants will always make sure that their team is at work. They work in firms and these firms have to be monitored. You find that hospital administrations are there to monitor and make sure that each and every firm which is on duty or cover are available all the time,” he said.