‘Call to duty’ debacle persists

Nurses demonstrating PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Nurses demonstrating PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) is meeting the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) to resolve the issue of allowances for ‘Call to Duty’

Unlike doctors, nurses do not get allowances. The union wants this anomaly addressed, failing which nurses will not take call-ins. In an interview with BONU president, Peter Baleseng on Wednesday, he said: “We are demanding that DPSM must implement the judgment delivered last year December. The judgement requires that nurses be paid overtime when they have worked for long hours and clock when that happens. It does not necessarily address the issue of ‘Call to duty’ because one is forced to be in that area. Therefore, a nurse on ‘Call on Duty’ may go wherever he/she wants to go.”

Baleseng said the issue of ‘Call to Duty’ is very complicated, unlike the way the Court of Appeal has addressed it. He said nurses would not allow a situation whereby they are on standby and only required to be paid for the time they would be seeing a patient while one is forced not to go anywhere. The union president said the nurses want the ministry to pay certain allowances just like what is happening to doctors. He said what is painful is that the nurse is the one who calls a doctor after having a consultation with the patient. Baleseng confirmed that they would be meeting with DPSM on Monday to try to iron out this matter since it is affecting nurses’ efforts to deliver effectively in their duties. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, spokesperson Dr Christopher Nyanga said: “Yes we are aware of both the issue and the judgment you refer to. Together with all the stakeholders, the ministry is still studying the judgment and having conversations on how to move forward in compliance with the said judgment.”

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