LAHORE, June 2: Protest by paramedics on Saturday entered into its second phase as they closed all departments by denying treatment to the patients except at emergency, intensive care unit and the cardiac care unit.

In the first phase, from May 2 to 31, a symbolic strike was observed only in OPDs and diagnostic units of public hospitals on the call of the Punjab Paramedics Alliance Class-IV which had issued a schedule of agitation in three phases.

Initially, they had been observing a two-hour token strike and in the last week of May for three hours.

In the second phase, the paramedics have intensified their protest after failing to get attention of the Punjab government through a month-long agitation for service structure, health professional allowance and regularisation of contract employees. The second phase will last for a period of another month.

Now the paramedics, who will observe strike from 8am to 2pm, have withdrawn their services from OPDs, radiology departments, laboratories, X-ray rooms, operation theatres, administration and doctors’ offices, etc.

On Saturday, dozens of operations were postponed owing to absence of the paramedics at hospitals. Hundreds of patients could not get reports from laboratories which were closed by the agitating paramedics. No X-ray, ultrasound, ECG, MRI, CT Scan and diagnostic test was performed.

Interestingly, this time sweepers and sanitary inspectors also went on strike and most of the teaching hospitals were showing a poor state of affairs in respect of cleanliness.

The paramedics also staged rallies at all teaching hospitals to show their anger over the apathy of the government towards their legitimate demands.

PPA Chairman Malik Munir criticised the government for not considering their demands, saying all other provinces had brought paramedics under service structure except Punjab. He said the apathy of the government could be gauged from the fact that its officials did not bother to even initiate talks with them despite a month-long protest.

He asked the Punjab administration to accept their demands otherwise the third phase of agitation would bring more severe results for the government and the public hospitals as well.—Staff Reporter

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