Forensic pathology work-to-rule strike is over – Gauteng Health MEC

2017-07-06 16:33
Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa giving update on the latest developments regarding the work-to-rule strike by Forensic Pathology Officers. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa giving update on the latest developments regarding the work-to-rule strike by Forensic Pathology Officers. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has announced that the protected work-to-rule strike by forensic pathology officers is over. 

Ramokgopa told media at a briefing on Thursday afternoon that all of the officers returned to their work stations on Wednesday morning.

Ramokgopa said their teams were now hard at work to clear the backlogs in all the affected facilities.

Forensic pathology officers reported for duty in Germiston, Hillbrow, Roodepoort and Diepkloof, which were the most affected in the province. They had also reported for duty in other facilities in the province. 

Ramokgopa said smaller facilities such as Sebokeng, Carletonville, Ga-Rankuwa, Bronkhorstspruit and Heidelberg did not have major backlogs.

According to the department a total of 188 pathologists in 11 mortuaries were on strike.

Ramokgopa had pleaded with grieving families to be patient while the department expedited the release of the bodies of their loved ones. 

Pathologists had been on strike for a few weeks and it has affected state mortuaries in various parts of the province. 

Some family members had to postpone the funerals of their loved ones due to the backlog of pending post-mortems.

Also read: Families get court orders for autopsies amid Gauteng mortuary crisis

According to the department, the strike had resulted in the backlog of more than 250 bodies. 

The department said at the time that military officials were deployed to facilities that had been severely affected to help with the backlog. 

News24 reported in June that untrained forensic officers had been conducting dissections without supervision for the past 10 years.

Stabilise facility

The facilities that were affected have been restored to their capacity.

Ramokgopa said their teams would now move to stabilise and mobilise the facilities.

The issues that were raised by the forensic pathology officers included salary scales that were not in line with those pertaining to the 2006 transfer from the South African Police Service to the Gauteng Department of Health, danger allowance and the re-introduction of de-briefing sessions.

Other concerns were provision of equipment, protective clothing and revised job descriptions. 

She said the health department had introduced a provisional special allowance for dissection and evisceration under the direct supervision of a pathologist or medical officer with effect from April 1, 2017.

It has been agreed that a training programme will be developed that will enable forensic pathology officers to register with a statutory body, Ramokgopa said.

Also read: Motsoaledi asks for Health Ombudsman probe untrained post mortem claims  

Read more on:    gwen ramokgopa  |  johannesburg  |  health

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