THE number of fired Zimbabwean doctors has surged to 435 doctors in an unprecedented government response to a prolonged industrial action by its hospital staff.
This was revealed at a post-cabinet media briefing, Thursday by Acting Information Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu who however said the sacked medical practitioners were at liberty to reapply if they still wished to be readmitted into the country's beleaguered health services sector.
"The strike by the doctors over conditions of service has now gone beyond 77 days," said the government Minister.
"A total of 480 disciplinary cases have so far been heard, an additional 149 doctors have been found guilty and discharged and the cumulative total of doctors discharged is 435."
Of the 480 disciplinary hearings conducted to date, only 45 doctors have been found innocent, said the minister.
The disciplinary hearings will be concluded on the 27th of November.
Also featured during Thursday's cabinet deliberations, Ndlovu said, were details of the November 15 meeting between the health ministry as well as senior and junior doctors' representatives.
Said the minister, "While positive strides were made at the meeting, some doctors showing a willingness to report to work, cabinet has resolved that those doctors already discharged have to reapply for readmission.
"Government will not rescind its position on the fired doctors," he said.
Despite the sackings by government, doctors have defiantly stuck to their job action.
Hundreds of doctors manning the country's public hospitals downed their tools early September demanding a return to their US dollar wages or remuneration in local currency but pegged against prevailing interbank market rates.