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Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Patients at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi, south of Durban, were left stranded yesterday morning when doctors downed tools in support of an ongoing pay dispute by doctors in Gauteng, North West and Free State.

Doctors have gone on strike over poor salaries and working conditions at state hospitals.

Provincial department of health spokesperson Sebe Zwane said that the patients were without doctors on site for a few hours while a meeting to try and urge the doctors to go back to work was held on the hospital premises.

Zwane confirmed that the doctors had threatened to down tools. However a meeting between the hospital officials and doctors ended in the doctors going back to work.

"At a brief meeting with management doctors decided to call off their protest.

It was agreed that they will wait until a decision on their grievances is taken at national level," said Zwane.

Emergency cases at government hospitals in Gauteng and the Western Cape had to be transferred to neighbouring hospitals after about 300 doctors embarked on a stay way.

Zwane said patients would visit government hospitals and they would not experience problems because the issue has been sorted out and doctors have agreed to go back to the wards.

Bongani Nxumalo of the Association for Black Doctors in the province Ikhanya Afrika has urged the doctors to wait for a new ANC government to take office and then table their grievances before considering going on a strike.