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HomeHealthGovernment and Doctors Nearing Deal as Talks Extend to Tuesday

Government and Doctors Nearing Deal as Talks Extend to Tuesday

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In an encouraging update, Head of Public Service Felix Koskei announced that a deal with doctors may be signed tomorrow, indicating significant progress in ongoing negotiations. Originally scheduled for Monday, the signing was postponed to Tuesday as doctors’ union officials continued discussions with the council late into the night.

The doctors have been on strike for 40 days since March 14, 2024, leading to a halt in service provision across public health facilities. In response, the government has set a deadline of Tuesday for the doctors to conclude their discussions and provide a way forward regarding the ongoing industrial action.

Koskei, who heads the ‘Whole of Nation Approach Committee,’ stated that negotiations have already achieved 96 percent of the desired outcome. Speaking at the KICC on Monday evening, he explained that the government side agreed to postpone the signing of the draft return-to-work formula to Tuesday, giving doctors union officials additional time to finalize their discussions with their membership.

Koskei emphasized the need for doctors to conclude their discussions, stating, “Once they are ready, we convene here and sign the return-to-work formula.” The strike has severely impacted public health facilities, making it crucial to reach a resolution promptly.

The striking doctors, represented by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), are advocating for the full implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which was signed in 2017 following a record 100-day strike.

According to Koskei, all issues concerning the national and county governments were resolved during a meeting held on Sunday, except for one unresolved matter — the payment of interns. However, progress has been made, and a draft document has been initialed by all parties. The union leadership will report back to their council and membership for ratification before the final signing.

The recent developments reflect a significant shift in both sides’ positions, as they have softened their stances on contentious issues that threatened to stall talks since they commenced on March 21, 2024. Following four days of intense meetings, lasting well into the night, a near-consensus has been reached, with the aim of drafting a return-to-work formula to resolve the stalemate and prevent a complete breakdown of the country’s healthcare system.

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