ISLAMABAD, Feb 3: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday enhanced the pay of the paramedical staff of the federal government hospitals, bringing their month-long strike to an end.

We will grant them one basic pay in addition to their existing salary with effect from January 1,” the prime minister announced in a brief policy statement in the National Assembly after some members referred to the crippling strike.

This announcement brought great joy to the strikers who gathered at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) to celebrate their victory.

A key member of the strikers’ joint action committee, Manzar Abbas Naqvi, said the incentive would inspire the paramedics and the other non-medical staff to work with more commitment.

“Being a man from the people, the prime minister’s decision showed that he recognised the justness of our demands and protest,” he said talking to Dawn.

Secretary of the Capital Administration and Development Division Imtiaz Inayat Elahi expressed the hope that “now our health professionals will ensure that the backlog of surgeries in the public hospitals will be cleared”.

In Pims alone 800 surgical procedures are waiting to be done.

Executive Director Prof Mehmood Jamal of the hospital said all the striking staff had resumed their duties by Friday evening and “it will be business as usual” on Saturday.

But he stressed that “since the government has met their demands, discipline will be the key word henceforth”.

Paramedics and other workers of the three federal hospitals in the city had gone on strike to demand pay structure and perks commensurate with the Health Personnel Scale awarded to the doctors and other professionals.

Their demands included increase in salaries, timescale promotion, health risk allowance, non-practising allowance, one-step upgradation, hostel facility for nurses, pick-and-drop service and civil servant status for themselves.

A senior federal government official told Dawn that the prime minister’s announcement in the National Assembly will benefit the paramedics, nurses, doctors, including house officers and postgraduate trainees, consultants, senior faculty and administration staff of the federal hospitals.

However, continuation of post graduate trainees’ stipend will be managed through an office memorandum of the competent authority, he said.

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