Three high court judges has today rejected an application by doctors seeking temporarily orders to stop devolving of health services to the counties pending the judgment of a petition filed by medical practitioners unions .
In their short ruling, by the three Judges bench comprising justice Weldon Korir, George Odunga and Mumbi Ngugi said the suspension of the process would cause more confusion in the health sector. They said the best they can do is hurry up with the delivery of the judgment.
Through their lawyer Samuel Makori, the medical practitioners bodies had complained that some counties had started processing the payroll services to the doctors yet the case was still in court. He argued that the decision by the High court would be rendered useless if the on-going deployment of staff and preparation of pay-rolls at the county level.
But Transitional Authority and Council of Governors through lawyers Lucy Kambuni and Asa Nyakundi respectively opposed the application saying the health services, among other services such as agriculture, had already been devolved through the official Kenya Gazette notice on August 9 and implementation was being enforced.
The bodies namely Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Kenya Health Professionals Society (KHPS) are totally opposed to the transfer of health services to the grassroots terming the exercise as unconstitutional since it was conducted without public participation.
They have expressed concern that the national Government will only settle salaries and emoluments for medical workers in public service until January 2014 before clearly spelling out clear guidelines regarding their terms of service and careers that are at stake. They have protested that the impending transfer of County health services will implemented by the Transition Authority without following constitutional provisions that are applicable in law.
The health workers want the court to quash Legal Notice No 137 published by the Transitional Authority on August 9, approving the devolution of health services to County Governments. The union members and the citizenry will be greatly prejudiced in case the disputed policy framework implementation is not temporarily stopped to pave way for all-inclusive negotiations, the unions said.
Transitional Authority on it part argued that the High Court has no power to adjudicate on the enforcement of Government policy since all State organs had consulted stakeholders and confirmed that the necessary infrastructure was ideal to facilitate the transfer of health services to the grassroots. Kambuni further said that the health workers have not proved the allegations of breach of law.
Nyakundi said Governors had put in place effective structure and were rearing to go. The judges said they will deliver the judgment on December 18.Medical practioners has been objecting the move to devolve medical services to county government.