Pressure group flags doctors for double dipping, shortchanging patients

KWEKWE – Kwekwe based pressure group, Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has called on authorities to step in and stop some public hospital doctors from shortchanging poor citizens through spending much of their time in their private hospitals.

Under Zimbabwean laws, doctors employed in the country’s poorly resourced public hospitals can open their own private hospitals.

This has often seen some doctors dedicate more time in their private surgeries than within public hospitals.

In a statement, Obert Chinhamo, director of ACT-SA lamented how government health workers running parallel private surgeries have contributed to the deterioration of public health service delivery.

“ACT-SA is disturbed by reports that medical personnel, especially doctors, spend most of their time at their private establishments when they are supposed to be at government hospitals,” Chinhamo said.

“Sick patients queue for long hours waiting for them to come.

“In some cases, even when they come, they refer patients to their private businesses where these poor patients are forced to pay a lot of money.”

Chinhamo called on government to ban opening of private surgeries by public sector medical personnel.

“My organization proposes that no medical personnel should be allowed to open private businesses that conflict with their duties and responsibilities as civil servants.

“In addition to improved remuneration, this is the only way that medical personnel could be found at work all the time when their services are needed most,” he said.

The ACT-SA director also urged firmer healthcare policy reform.

Public sector health workers accuse government of poor wages.

The past few years have seen an exodus of key medical staff to regional and overseas countries in search of greener pastures.

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