THE government in the interest of patients and of saving lives has dismissed all the striking nurses with immediate effect.
In a statement, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said against the background of series of meetings involving government, the Health Services Board (HSB) and the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) which were meant to resolve the industrial action by nursing staff in the public health sector and the subsequent decision by government on Monday to accede to the demands made by the striking nurses, the government regrets to note that the industrial action in this essential service sector has persisted.
In his capacity as the supervisor of the social services cluster on the continuing industrial action by nurses, Chiwenga said what makes the whole action deplorable and reprehensible is the fact that as agreed on Monday, the government on Tuesday released and transferred $17 114 446 into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child care for on-payment to the striking nurses.
He also said while this demonstrates good faith in the part of government, the prompt transfers which have been effected against demonstrable economic challenges facing the country, has not quite surprisingly persuaded the striking nurses to go back to their stations in the interest of saving lives and helping helpless patients under their care.
The government now regards this lack of remorse as politically motivated and thus as going beyond concerns of conditions of service and worker welfare.
Furthermore, the government has instructed the HSB to speedily engage as appropriate all unemployed but trained nurses in the country.
The government has also authorised the board to recall retired nursing staff into the service.
The government added that funds originally released to meet demands of the striking nursing staff will now be re-directed and allocated towards meeting the costs of effecting this new directive and arrangements which will be implemented with immediate effect.
In the meantime, the government has paid singular tribute to all nurses who have loyally remained at work and those from the ranks of the striking nurses who have heeded its call for them to return to work.
Meanwhile, the government has appealed to all those visiting public health institutions to exercise patience while services are being restored and brought back to normalcy.