DOCTORS on duty again

Doctors at the Jubilee Hospital have agreed to stop striking, but at the George Mukhari Hospital army doctors had to help, Gauteng's health department said yesterday.

Doctors at the Jubilee Hospital have agreed to stop striking, but at the George Mukhari Hospital army doctors had to help, Gauteng's health department said yesterday.

Last night Sowetan confirmed that doctors at George Mukhari were still not back at work.

While Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa appreciated the reasons why doctors would want to strike at the hospitals near Pretoria, the law had to be respected.

After "painstaking" attempts at resolving the situation the department decided to issue letters of dismissal to the striking doctors.

After these letters were handed out doctors at Jubilee Hospital returned to work.

To help army doctors at George Mukhari Hospital, the department had also seconded doctors based at head and regional offices.

Meanwhile, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) appealed to doctors to return to work, though it6 agreed that talks over their occupation specific dispensation (OSD) were taking too long.

The OSD was supposed to have been a payment to make up public sector doctors' poor pay and working conditions, but implementation had stalled. Nehawu believed the doctors should return to work though, their working conditions and pay were poor, and give negotiations a chance.

Like the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA, Nehawu also called on the department to withdraw letters of dismissal sent to striking doctors.

The SA Medical Association, though sympathetic to the doctors' situation, did not support the strike. - Sapa

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