Public Hearings on Health Services Amendment Bill

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The Chronicle

Angela Sibanda, columnist
PARLIAMENTARIANS will next week hold public hearings on the Health Services Amendment Bill which seeks to ban industrial action by health workers lasting longer than three days.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has announced that it will hold public hearings across the country for the Health Services Amendment Bill which was published in July of l ‘last year.

The proposed law governs the operations of all qualified medical personnel and anyone employed to assist them within the Department of Health and Child Welfare, local authorities or mission hospitals.

The Bill will amend the Health Services Act to require hospital management boards to obtain Commission approval for the appointment of staff and for the Minister to act “in consultation with the Commission” when creation of public hospital management boards.

The bill also seeks to align the current Health Services Act 2005 with the Constitution. In clause five, the bill states that health services must be considered an essential service within the meaning of the Constitution and that any industrial action must not last longer than 48 hours.

“No class action, whether legal or illegal, shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours or for more than 72 hours in any given 14-day period, and notice of any class action shall be given in writing 48 hours before the start of such class actions.

“Any individual who is a member of the governing body of a trade union or of a representative body of members of the health service which instigates or organizes collective labor action is guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or both such fine and imprisonment,” reads the clause.

The consultations will be conducted by two teams that will travel to all the provinces and the hearings are expected to conclude within a week.

The first team will cover Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West Province on Monday, Gweru in Midlands Province on Tuesday, Gwanda in Matabeleland South on Wednesday, Victoria Falls in Matabeleland North on Thursday and Bulawayo on Friday.

The second team will cover Masvingo on Monday, Mutare on Tuesday, Marondera on Wednesday, Bindura on Thursday and Harare on Friday.

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