ERRANT medical doctors will now face disciplinary action for misconduct while persistent offenders will be fired as the Government abandons its policy of being lenient with offenders.
The doctors were either being demoted or issued with warnings for misconduct.
Principal director for curative services in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi last week said medical professionals had become "too relaxed" because of the leniency.
"The system had been lenient with these professionals because there were few of them in the country, but now we will not hesitate to fire any individual found guilty of an offence," Dr Tapfumaneyi said.
His remarks come after the dismissal of a doctor from Mashonaland Central who was found guilty of three charges of misconduct.
The doctor, who was not named, was said to have failed to attend to an emergency in the maternity ward while on call.
He refused to assist patients involved in a road traffic accident on two occasions.
Dr Tapfumaneyi said medical practitioners with psychiatric problems who were previously admitted into service will now be relieved of their duties if they fail to handle their condition.
He said such doctors should control their condition accordingly so that they do not get worse and disrupt service to patients.
Previously, doctors with psychiatric problems were allowed into service as long as they took medication.
They work under the supervision of another doctor.
"If they fail to control their condition and prove to be a burden to their supervisor, we will fire them as well," Dr Tapfumaneyi said.
He said doctors who fail to attend to emergencies while on call and those who "behave like thugs" will face the axe.
"We have heard of doctors who behave like thugs when they are at work, who fail to attend to emergencies when they are on call resulting in deaths and those who rush to do certain medical procedures for the love of money."
"These and many other cases will thoroughly be investigated and dealt with."
Dr Tapfumaneyi said in terms of salaries and incentives, health workers are better paid than any other civil servants and they ought to offer a service to the community as well.
"Of course, all things will go by stages and will be done professionally.
"We will look at the complaint raised by the aggrieved and what the accused has to say in defence."
Dr Tapfumaneyi said the accused, through the Medical and Dental Practitioners' Council, will be given three warnings before dismissal, depending on the gravity of the offence.
Cases of doctors or nurses fired from service for misconduct are rare in Zimbabwe.
Of late, there have been media reports on loss of life due to negligence, misconduct or medical boobs.