September 2016 DailyNation; Doctors in Nyeri are set to down tools on Friday for what they have said is poor staffing, delayed salaries and failure to give them study leave unless the county addresses their grievances.
In a notice issued last week, the doctors that persistent failure by the county government to address their grievances had forced them to take the industrial action.
Kenya Medical Practitioners Dentist Union Central branch officials’ on Wednesday said the county government lacked the goodwill to hold talks and respond to their grievances.
Branch Chairman Dr Wanderi Muturi said two letters on labour-related grievances were issued in June and August 2016 but they were yet to get any reply from the county executive for Heath.
“The strike notice was given after numerous attempts to seek audience with the county. Telephone calls have been ignored and all responsible county officials cannot be found in person to give audience,” said Dr Muturi.
WORK FOR LONG HOURS
He complained that understaffing had resulted in doctors working for long hours especially in the surgery, paediatrics and medicine departments, thus compromising the quality of services offered.
According to Dr Muturi, the Nyeri County Referral Hospital needs an average of 18 practitioners yet only four have been absorbed out of the 12 posted, further worsening the staff shortage problem.
The union has further accused the county of rejecting doctors appointed by the Ministry of Health.
“Some have been turned away on flimsy grounds and others decided to seek employment elsewhere after three months in the cold without a salary,” he said.
The county has also been put on the spot over failure to release doctors for post-graduate studies, further frustrating those who have already been admitted into various universities.
DENIED STUDY LEAVE
Eleven doctors in the county are said to have applied for study leave but are yet to receive letters allowing them to leave their work stations.
“Most of the doctors should have reported to the universities but the county is holding them. We have tried to get answers but nothing is forthcoming,” he said.
A doctor at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital told the Nation that cases of deaths had increased due to poor staffing of doctors and nurses in the busy hospital.
“Patients have died waiting in the line but there is usually little we can do about it because our hands are full,” he said. The doctors’ union further raised concerns over promotions and inability by doctors to go for annual leave due to poor staffing. Efforts to reach the County Health Executive Charles Githinji were not successful.