Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Hundreds of doctors who went on strike from earlier this month were back at work yesterday.

This was after the Department of Health threatened to fire them if they continued with the strike.

About 400 doctors downed tools earlier this month in Gauteng and North West.

At the centre of the dispute were grievances over pay and working conditions.

On Friday the doctors were given an ultimatum to return to work or be dismissed following the granting of an interdict by the labour court against the striking doctors.

"At Dr George Mukhari Hospital outside Pretoria the situation had returned to normal yesterday," said Department of Health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe.

Hadebe said doctors at Jubilee Hospital in North West had also returned to work. Those who continued to strike on Monday received letters of dismissal, but this decision was overturned when they returned to work.

"The department is aware of the shortage of doctors and how dismissal of some doctors would affect the situation," said Hadebe.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) commended "all doctors who returned to work as it showed that they had not abandoned their duty to serve society, as alleged in certain sections of the media".

The body appealed to the department to seek solutions to the problem.