Return to work, doctors told

2009-07-02 11:01

Cape Town - Government has called on public service doctors to end their strike and return to work immediately, saying their dispute is doing "considerable harm" to the sector.

Briefing the media in Cape Town on Thursday, following Cabinet's fortnightly meeting the day before, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the strike was depriving ordinary South Africans of access to health care.

"Government calls on all the medical professionals who are still on strike to return to work, and resume their duties with immediate effect," he said.

This should be done with the knowledge "government has listened, understands their plight and that conditions in our public health facilities will improve in time".

Maseko said there was a responsibility to ensure citizens were not deprived of their rights to quality health care.

He said Cabinet welcomed the progress made in negotiations with unions regarding the occupation specific dispensation.

The government's final offer had been tabled and negotiated in the Public Service Bargaining Chamber.

"The [Cabinet] meeting expressed the hope that the unions will do all they can to ensure that details of the offer are properly explained to their members so that an agreement could be signed sooner rather than later, as the offer represents an improvement in the salaries of the medical staff.

"The labour dispute is doing considerable harm, adding more strain to an already strained public health sector, and in the process depriving ordinary South Africans access to desperately needed health care," Maseko said.