Doctors ordered back to work

Eastern Cape doctors have been ordered to return to work by Monday or legal action would be taken, the health department said.

“They have to be back at work by 8am [on Monday] or will have to face the consequences,” spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said on Sunday.

“This decision was taken after a meeting by health department management.”

Kupelo said no work no pay has been implemented for the number of days doctors were away from work.

Interns who were also on strike were reminded that if they did not fill their prescribed hours, they would not be issued with qualification certificates.

“We reserve the right to take action which may lead to dismissal,” Kupelo said.

Meanwhile, the Durban Labour Court granted the KwaZulu-Natal health department an interdict against striking healthcare workers, the department said.

The ruling, handed down on Saturday, bars doctors, pharmacists, dentists and emergency medical practitioners from engaging in an illegal strike action, spokesperson Chris Maxon said in a statement.

According to Maxon, Judge Cele, when granting the order said: “[I]t would be a sad day when I am called to an in situ hearing where bodies of people who have died as a result of the strike are counted”.

The department’s acting head Dr Yoliswa Mbele said: “We are happy that justice has prevailed in the interest of 88% of people of KwaZulu-Natal who depend on public health services. We hope all those striking will return to work immediately as the court has so ordered.”—Sapa

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