A court has suspended the one month jail sentence handed to doctors to allow them to negotiate and call off their 53-day strike.

Hellen Wasilwa of Milimani law courts suspended the sentence by five days in a ruling on Thursday.

“I will take time and review the orders and I will suspend the orders for [the period] which will expire on January 31,” said Wasilwa.

She said parties will be allowed to lay down their grievances on that day.

“The court has wide discretion and this is a matter of public interest. For the last 10 years I have not sent anybody to jail but the role of the court is to give a solution,” she said.

Doctors’ union officials marched to the court ahead of the ruling. Some filled the court while others waited outside.

Wasilwa had given KMPDU bosses up to today to end their strike or go to prison for one month.

But the medics said this was a price they were willing to pay in their quest for a 300 per cent pay rise and better working conditions, in line with their 2013 CBA.

But on Wednesday, they filed a court application for their impending jail sentence to be suspended for an additional two weeks.

Through secretary general Ouma Oluga, the medics said they needed more time to fully comply with Wasilwa’s directions.

KMPDU officials facing jail are Oluga, union chair Samuel Oroko, and deputy secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda.

Others are vice chair Titus Ondoro, treasurer Daisy Korir, assistant treasurer Evelyn Chege and Allan Ochanji.

Working conditions subject to review include job structures, criteria for promotions and the under-staffing of medical professionals in government hospitals.

Doctors have also accused the government of failing to stock public hospitals with basic medicines and supplies of items such as gloves.

Talks have failed and Health CS Cleopa Mailu threw in the towel, but the doctors said an amicable solution will have been reached by the end of the two weeks