And the department is calling on all the medical officers employed by the NDoH to return to work.
“Should you not return to work immediately, I will formally seek an investigation into whether the actions amount to professional misconduct with a view to dismissing those found in breach of their contract,” Health Secretary Pascoe Kase warned.
“I am disappointed that the medical staff of WHPHA have been capable and ready once again to abandon their posts and to be the direct cause of a great deal of distress and suffering of affected patients and their families,” he said.
Kase said he was advised that some doctors and other health staff had left their posts and refused to work, bringing about another closure of the hospital.
Their impasse have caused direct effects on hardworking staff in neighbouring hospitals who are taking in those unable to obtain treatment at WHPHA, he said yesterday.
“I have consulted with the Secretary for Department of Personnel Management about the duties of the medical officers at WHPHA and their legal obligation to attend work,” Kase said.
He said all employees are aware of the formalities of contractual employments and penalties will be applied accordingly.
“I now directly address those medical officers employed by the NDoH and working at WHPHA…you are directed in the strongest terms to immediately return to work.”
Kase said immediate effect of ceasing work is a breach to the Public Service (Management) Act and the contracts under which they were employed.
“Pay will be docked for every day of absence and all involved officers risk disciplinary actions and dismissal. Your absence also affects accumulation of recreation leave and furlough leave,” he warned.
The secretary said he was also taking note of National Doctors Association (NDA) award which states that: “The NDA Award notes the essential service you provide and obliges you to depending on the circumstances, endeavour at all times not to encourage your members to take part in or give support to industrial action which would result in a cessation of the medical services”.
Kase urged the medical workers to remember their ethical and contractual obligations to the people of Western Highlands.