RAWALPINDI, June 19: Despite tall claims of Punjab government for the provision of health facilities at government run hospitals, the patients continued to suffer as Outdoor Patient Departments (OPDs) of the three allied hospitals in the garrison city were closed down due to the strike of young doctors.
The strike was observed on the call of Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab across the province to improve the service structure of doctors at government hospitals.
Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) Principal Prof Dr Musaddiq Khan told Dawn the allied hospitals managed to provide treatment to the patients at emergency departments as the OPDs remained closed due to the strike.
He said that senior doctors and professors had been requested to check the patients at emergency departments. He claimed the operations and provision of health treatment to serious patients continued at the hospitals unabated as per routine.
“Yes, there is problem at the OPDs but administration was helpless as a majority of the doctors at three teaching hospitals belonged to young doctors,” he said and added that the provincial government was trying hard to improve the situation in the coming days.
However, the patients coming to city hospitals were confused.
After entering the hospitals, the patients went straight to the OPDs where some young doctors or ward boys informed them that all the doctors were on strike.
“I got confused as I reached the hospital in the morning and some young people wearing white coats claimed the OPD was closed but some patients advised me to go to emergency department,” said Munir Ahmed, a patient at Holy Family Hospital.
He further said he went to administration block and finally reached the emergency department where a huge rush was witnessed and he managed to get treatment at around 2pm.
A patient at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Naseem Gul, said that he went to the OPD and found no doctor there. He added that he decided not to come to a government hospital and got medical treatment from a private hospital after borrowing some money.
Fareeda Bibi, a kidney patient at District Headquarters Hospital said she was suffering from severe pain in kidney and received injection after facing great difficulty. “The doctors should stage protest on the roads despite withdrawing their services from the hospitals where mostly poor people visited,” she suggested.
YDA Punjab Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon said, “The doctors will continue their strike till their demands are met. They will continue their work and perform duties at the wards, ICUs and emergency departments to provide health care facilities to the patients.” He warned that if the provincial government did not accept their demands, they will block main roads of the province soon. He said the YDA did not want to create problem for the patients but they had no other option except the strike.