THE national strike by junior doctors entered its second day yesterday, but it remained unclear whether health workers in Bulawayo had also joined the industrial action.
At Mpilo Central Hospital officials said most junior doctors had reported for work, although senior doctors were not in attendance.
“All nurses and junior doctors are around except for senior doctors, who downed their tools,” an official at Mpilo said on condition of anonymity.
There were hardly any queues at the hospital, with operations seemingly flowing smoothly.
At United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) the situation was markedly different as there were no junior doctors.
A guard at the institution said the junior workers were only attending to emergencies and complications.
A patient at the outpatients department said she had been waiting for three hours to be attended to, but there was nobody to see her.
“I have been here since 1pm I have not been attended to,” the woman, who was nursing a swollen arm, said.
Junior doctors are on strike demanding an increase in their salaries from $282 to $1 200, excluding allowances.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) yesterday vowed that its members would not return to work until the government addressed their plight.
ZHDA president Fortune Nyamande said although it was an inconvenience to patients, the health workers had no choice but to strike as they too had pressing needs.
“We know that patients are the ones who are feeling the pinch most, but it is important that our needs be addressed so that we can go back to work and resume our duties normally,” he said.
Nyamande said his office had received reports that patients at Harare, Mpilo and UBH were the most affected because doctors were said to be only dealing with serious patients, who they admitted.
“I have received reports that our doctors are only dealing with serious cases, while those who are not in critical conditions are turned way,” he said.
“Some people who needed hospital services were turned away, our doctors have made it clear that they will not attend to routine and non-urgent consultations.”