Some junior doctors who were deployed to Mpilo Hospital in August and were supposed to be accommodated at the hospital have complained that they are now stranded after being kicked out of Elangeni Training Centre where they were being temporarily accommodated.
The hospital, however, refuted the junior doctors’ claims saying they left Elangeni on their own accord and a “good number of them” were now staying at the hospital after their seniors vacated rooms for them.
The medical superintendent of Mplio Dr Lindiwe Mlilo said 27 junior resident medical officers were seconded to the hospital in August and were accommodated at Elangeni Training Centre along Harare Road.
The junior doctors said they were supposed to be accommodated at the hospital but only four of their colleagues, including a colleague who was pregnant, had been offered accommodation. They said that the rooms they were supposed to occupy were being used by their seniors who should have long left after their two-year internship.
The doctors said the accommodation at Elangeni was appalling as it was meant for students on short courses at the centre.
They said when they moved to Elangeni they had been told they would only be accommodated there for a week after which alternative accommodation would be provided. But they had been there for three months when they were told to leave at the end of October and were forced to use the boardroom at Mpilo Hospital.
They also complained that half of them had not yet been paid three months after being deployed. They said they had been offered advances by the hospital which had been forced to provide them with food because they did not have catering facilities.
The doctors also said because they were staying far from the hospital, they were at times taken to work in ambulances which also brought their meals.
Although the government was building a block of flats for them at Mpilo, they said construction had stopped because of lack of funds. Construction would probably only resume after the disbursement of funds from the 2006 budget.
They said what irked them most was that their colleagues who had been deployed to United Bulawayo Hospitals, Harare and Parirenyatwa were not experiencing similar problems.
Dr Mlilo said the construction of the flats “met with a few challenges especially that of escalating costs of building material”. She said efforts by the hospital and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to finish the remaining works was underway.
On transportation, she said the interns were transported by the hospital “by whatever means of transport available, taking into consideration the fuel problems faced by everyone these days”.
She also said the problem of salaries was being looked into by both the hospital and the Salary Services Bureau.