RAWALPINDI, July 1: More than 15 doctors of Pakistan Army along with 27 demonstrators of Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) will attend the patients at allied hospitals’ out-patient departments (OPDs) in the garrison city from Monday as negotiations between the YDA and Punjab government have failed.

“The doctors of army will perform duties at three allied hospitals till the end of young doctors’ strike,” said the RMC Principal and Chief Executive of three allied hospitals Dr Musaddiq Khan while talking to Dawn.

He said that five doctors of Pakistan Army each would be deployed at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, District Headquarters Hospital and Holy Family Hospital and added that army doctors would perform duties in uniform.

He also said the provincial government had also appointed 51 women medical officers in three hospitals of the city to tackle any unforeseen situation due to the ongoing strike. “These medical officers have been recruited through Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and they had been posted at the allied hospitals in the city,” he explained.

Dr Khan assured that government would not leave the patients unattended in the government-run hospitals due to the strikes of doctors. He said it had made all the necessary arrangements to run the hospitals without the protesting doctors.

“The allied hospitals kept the OPDs at the allied hospitals open on Sunday and the doctors remained present on duty,” he claimed. However, officials at the hospitals were of the view that patients did not come in great numbers considering Sunday as a weekly-off for the OPDs. They said that doctors also stayed at the OPDs for a short span of time and then left as there were no patients.

Director Health Rawalpindi division Dr Zafar Iqbal Gondal said the provincial government had made all arrangements to run the district hospitals, Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) hospitals and Basic Health Units (BHUs) in the four districts of Rawalpindi division – Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum. He said the government wanted to run the hospitals as per routine for the uninterrupted provision of health facilities to the masses.

When contacted, Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon said the Punjab government had failed to run the OPDs in three allied hospitals of the city on Sunday despite making hectic efforts in this regard.

He said the negotiations between striking doctors and provincial government had failed and added the YDA was considering boycotting in-patient departments, operation theatres (OTs) and the emergency departments also and the decision, in this regard, would be finalised in a meeting late at night.

He warned that in their long march towards Lahore from all parts of the province, the striking doctors along with their families and friends would lay siege to Chief Minister Secretariat and added that young doctors were united for their cause.

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