Doctors troop back to work as their push for salary hike uncertainty deepens

Makueni, followed by Nyandarua, Kiambu and Machakos, Lamu and Taita Taveta Counties lead in the number of doctors who have resumed work.

 

The new turn of events comes in even as the government insisted that there will be no more negotiations on the doctors’ salary issues.

On Tuesday while in Naivasha for the  4th Annual Devolution's Conference, President Uhuru Kenyatta affirmed that the government would do away with striking doctors, and pave way for new recruits, if they boycotted the 40 per cent offer from the government.

Currently, Makueni County is leading in the number of doctors who have resumed work, with 50 per cent of them having reported by today in the morning.

Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri has said doctors in Nyandarua, Kiambu and Machakos, Lamu and Taita Taveta counties have also trooped to work as at today.

“Other hospitals where operations have resumed include Mathare Mental Health hospital, Moi Referral Hospital and the Kenyatta National Hospital,” Muraguri told journalists in Nairobi.

Doctors in Bomet, Lamu, Wajir, Mandera Samburu and Turkana counties, however, face an awaiting disciplinary action as they have not reported to work yet. Health services, Muraguri says, remains interrupted in these counties.

Serial sacking

In Nyeri County, over 20 doctors have cited intimidation from colleagues, as the major reason for their reluctance to resume work. Nyeri’s Health County Executive Charles Gethenji said that the county is already working on providing security to those who resume work.

“Those that have shown interest to resume working are 20. Now we have given them up to Friday (today) for them to come back otherwise we will be initiating disciplinary process from next week on Monday,” he told journalists.

He added: “We are going to take a head count and roll call and we will initiate disciplinary action against any doctor who will not be at their work stations.”

A few doctors, however, have reported to work in the county of Nyeri.

Termination notice

On Wednesday, Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua gave striking doctors a 12 hours’ notice, until Thursday (yesterday) to resume duty or be fired.

Mutua, in his notice, said the demands advanced by the striking medics were unrealistic adding that the strike had been politicised, making it lose its goal.

Mutua argued that doctors had held sick Kenyans hostage with many people losing their lives due to their withdrawal of services since 5th December last year.

He accused the doctors of shifting goalposts in their demands despite efforts by mediators and a personal appeal by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Council of Governors, through its chairman and Meru governor Peter Munya, on Wednesday also maintained its hard stance stating that doctors squandered their chance during mediation to end the strike which paralysed operations in public hospitals for over three months.

Already Kenyatta National Hospital has send home a dozen doctors and has initiated a disciplinary action against 48 others.

Speaking during the final day of the 4th Annual Devolution Conference, yesterday, CoG Chairman Peter Munya reckoned that the national and county governments will not engage in any more discussions with the striking doctors.

Doctors went on strike on December 5th, 2016, pushing for the full implementation of their earlier negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2013, which was later found to be illegal as it had not been signed by the current leadership at the ministry of Health.

The contentious document was instead signed by Mark Bor, a former PS for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, who was at the time of signing out of office.

The return to work by doctors comes at a time the government has started implementing a stringent order to start sacking defiant doctors who failed to heed President Kenyatta’s directive.

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