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Doctors’ strike


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WITH TV images of patients’ suffering being beamed live into every home, the striking young doctors in Punjab need to be aware that, regardless of the legitimacy of their demands, public patience may be wearing thin. Also that most of those being denied treatment are so poor that they rely solely on the strike-hit government hospitals for treatment. While the doctors say they aren’t protesting for more money, the Punjab government maintains that the ‘service structure’ they seek adds Rs23bn to the provincial health budget, an amount it can’t divert from frontline healthcare provision to their bank accounts. The government also says it has already given the young doctors raises worth Rs4.5bn. Unfortunately, all the signs are that the battle lines are hardening — especially after the police action last night on the Services Hospital hostel in Lahore that saw the arrest of dozens of doctors. Such a situation, both on the part of the doctors and the administration, whose strong-arm tactics cannot be condoned, does not augur well for patients, especially those who can’t afford private treatment.

Meanwhile, the element of militancy that has crept into the strike action has caused some senior professors and doctors to privately say they feel threatened if they staff outpatient departments, even though they are not bound by the strike call. It is sad that such action is now being associated with a noble profession that has public service at its core. We don’t need to remind the doctors of their Hippocratic Oath. Although the representatives of the Young Doctors Association, Punjab, have repeatedly said they are providing cover for essential medical services, they need only look in their own hospital yards to see the mass of suffering humanity. Now army doctors have been called in. Given the deadlock, what is needed is an independent arbitration and reconciliation service modelled after the UK’s ACAS which can be asked to step in if employees and employers can’t sort out disputes. For the moment, we can only call for restraint — especially after last night’s events — and dialogue so that the fundamental right to healthcare can be restored to the people.

Comments (17) Closed

drafaq Jul 02, 2012 08:38am
who told u that fresh doctor gets 44000 salary straight after graduation.first take sometime out to research it then speak.
Ercelan Jul 02, 2012 10:11am
All, yes all, have a right to strike when collective bargaining fails. However, doctors receive subsidised training in both public and private institutions. These subsidies include exemptions such as property tax or special energy rates or duty-free imports. Hence doctors have a special responsibility to repay these subsidies to society. In the present tax system, the poor also finance these subsidies, and are therefore even more deserving of repayments by doctors. Striking doctors could easily set up treatment camps outside hospitals, where more serious cases get referred to senior staff inside these hospitals. Instead of sending doctors to hospitals, the armed forces should open up their emergency rooms to civilians - after all it is these civilians who pay for the armed hospitals. Ditto for private hospitals and clinics, to treat at government rates.
suhail Jul 03, 2012 05:15am
Situation should be analysed pragmatically and not emotionally because emotionalism does not lead to proper and justified solution. Reported deaths started only after the government mishandled the situation by starting police action. Doctors were giving emergency and indoor coverage. So blaming doctors and sparing government is not a justified act. Government must have thought about it before starting police action. As far as public anger is concerned it all depends on how the situation is portrayed. Presently media is reporting in a very biased manner. Negative slogans are deliberated on the TV screens against doctors like "money making making machines", "greedy people", "exploiters","murderers" and what not. No representative of YDA has been given a proper chance to explain their stance before the public who have weightage in their argument.It involves extreme hardship in becoming a docotor, on the part of the person. If they are not given a proper job structure and lay out of career promotion and development the profession will loose its charm and coutary's best brain will not enter into it to provide best and capable doctors. Comparison must be done what effort it involves to become a Judge, civil servant and others of similar ranking and what salaries and other other benefits they enjoy and what is being paid to the doctors. Media must report in a fair manner.
Imran Jul 02, 2012 06:16pm
I am unable to apprehend that if the situation is like what the young doctors are believing and trying to tell the masses then why the nation's best kids work day and night to get admissions in Govt. medical colleges to become doctor. Why don't they opt for other professions. If they are not receiving right consideration, i dont know why they strive to become doctor. Why don't they let other people to become doctor. It seems really unethical that after studying in government colleges, they have started bullying when they have become a useful product. Why don't they leave the jobs if they are not attractive to them. These are the very basic questions which the doctors should at least ask themselves.
True Lies... Jul 02, 2012 09:56pm
Easiest to comment when you have no knowledge of a crisis and real issue..........Go ahead and join PML (N)
Imran Jul 03, 2012 02:06am
my stipend during housejob was RS 800 in 1990, from day 5 onwards each month i was in red
farhanshahidkhan Jul 03, 2012 02:40am
Dr Afaq sahab. he gets 22k right after graduation. He is a simple graduate but commands 22k salary. Then next year on passing a single exam, his salary jumps to 44k. Where in Pakistan, you get such kind of salaries while studying on subsidized fees? People spend million rupees in NUST on an engineering degree but only earn 30k after 2 years of service in multi nationals. Shame on your greed. It can only be finished by soil of grave
kaka Jul 06, 2012 01:59pm
ye tamam log jo thorhi si english jaan jaatay hain wo ye sochnay lag jatay hain kay hum har aik insan har aikk profession har authority aur har aik izzat wali cheez par baat kar saktay hain (izzat wali cheez jo kay ab hamaray muashray main kam reh gai hain)ye nahi sochtay kay ye saray heelay bahanay hain kay hamaray muashray main koi cheez aisi na rahay jis ki koi izzat ho.maslan wakeels, judges, police, hata kay dr aur usatza aur ulama bhi.doctron ko pakistan main agar un ki izzat aur mayyar kay mutabiq kuch milta to wo kabhiapnay gharon say door, intihai badtameez arbon ki khidmat karnay aur un ki tazleelana batain sunnnain na jatay. beta ye sab majboori main karna parh raha hai.dr ki pay agar usay foran graduation kay baad house job mil jay to 24000 hai.aur bohat say drs ko unpaid job aur post graduation ki training karni parhti hai iss tarah unhain 5,5 7,7 saal unpaid jobs karni parhti hain .khair lambi kahani hai. STRIKE:................. Listen drs aik token type ki strike pay thay aur CM nay ilan kia kay main direct drs say baat karta hoon issi silsilay main drs nay apni aik meeting bulai jis par darwaza torh raid hua jo kay tamam logon nay media par bhi dekha.aur iss raid say pehlay CM ko khabar thi kay media (jo kay sub logon ko khabar hai kay kaisay chalta hai--- paisay say bhai) khareeda ja chaka hai aur iss kay ilawa bhi drs kay pass koi rasta nahi siwai strike kay so ye kehna abbas nahin kay yeh strike CM nay karwai hai apnay kissi maqsad kay liay
suhail Jul 02, 2012 07:56am
A storm of disinformation is being spread in the media against the doctors. The biggest problem in this country is the authorities do not listen to any justified argument and tactfully play with the people. Consequently the deprived are left with no choice but to go on strikes and agitations. The same happened in this matter also. Bureaucracy is playing with the doctors since long time, making promises and breaking them shamelessly. The whole blame goes to the government and bureaucracy whose stern behaviour pushed the doctors to this end. The crux of the argument is if a country is poor and resourceless the situation should be shared by all and if in riches enjoyed by all. But in our society some people have grabbed much more than their due right keeping others totally deprived. e.g. compare the salaries and benefits of Bureaucracy, Army and Judiciary and their service and promotional structure with what is being offered to a doctor . For God's sake do not deceive the public and give doctors their due right by giving them Job structure which is their just demand and not only doctors but whoever is serving in the goverment. has the right of provision of proper job structure.
imran Jul 02, 2012 06:25am
doctors like all other professions in Pakistan are turning into a mafia in themselves, demanding fat pay checks while they dont perform their duties for the services they are paid for, visit any public sector health facility, including those run by military, and this inaction is written large. on the other hand they fleece the patients in the name of private practice even in their official working hours utilizing official facilities, they neither pay taxes on this income and are nor held accountable at any level for suffering of those for which they are principally hired. this strike is another strong arm tactic by them, and rest assured they are actively supported by seniors, to fleece more benefits without any improvement in the efficiency of their services, no doubt elders always prayed for being spared of a visit to THANA, KATHEHRY and HOSPITAL, they are all in the same league, SHAME ON YOU DOCTORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
jbashir Jul 02, 2012 12:05pm
The present total strike by the doctors is very hard to justify. Lets assume the government is wrong and the doctors are right. Even then, how can doctors explain the loss of even one life, which could have been avoided, had they attended to a sick child. No matter how justified their cause is, any patient dying due to their strike is a preventable death for which the doctors are equally to blame, if not more. Whatever their argument and quarrel is, letting patients suffer or die is appalling and doctors should know better. The most important thing for any strike to be successful is the legitimacy in the eyes of the public and their continued support. Public anger will soon turn against the striking doctors, who will have to face the wrath of the grieving relatives whose loved ones have died due to the doctor's quarrel with the government.
peace lover Jul 02, 2012 05:54am
A fresh doctor right after completion of his degree gets Rs 44000 salary, while what the doctors do in private clinics is in front of every one. At same time the government has to change its policy of entry test for medical colleges, because becoming a doctor is most difficult in Pakistan. This thing has created scarcity of doctors and as a result they think that they are lords of ring.
faaiza Jul 02, 2012 06:06pm
no dying patient is seen in opd, and the emergency was closed last night. so i don't understand patient death toll. As far as I know inpatient services continued.
Imran Jul 02, 2012 06:05pm
I am unable to apprehend that if the situation is like what the young doctors are believing and trying to tell the masses then why the nation's best kids work day and night to get admissions in Govt. medical colleges to become doctor. Why don't they opt for other professions. If they are not receiving right consideration, i dont know why they strive to become doctor. Why don't they let other people to become doctor. It seems really unethical that after studying in government colleges, they have started bullying when they have become a useful product. Why don't they leave the jobs if they are not attractive to them. These are the very basic questions which the doctors should at least ask themselves. I believe that the Government is also not demonstrating very serious behavior in handling the matter. If there is a problem of funds then what makes them so serious in distributing laptops by setting aside robust funds. If there is no parity between the pay structure of government employees then this outcome is very true. I believe Government should also stop playing with the masses.
Daud Jul 02, 2012 06:05pm
The question is not of Young or old docctors both have become mafias. Young doctors dont care poor patient in hospital I even witnessed to see them misbehave with poor people. Old or senior doctors prefer to private clinic and earn handsome money. The spent their summer vacation in Europe
kanwal Jul 06, 2012 11:19am
doctors were protesting peacefully up until sunday night when CM resorted to force and captured and tortured many doctors performing their duties. this country seriously needs a better healthcare system and this is whats at the heart of doctors' strike. why is this nation facing the worst brain drain in the world? because educated ppl like doctors dont have a basic service structure and pay scales that they truly deserve. doctors spend all their lives studying and working hard and staying up nights to help their patients. they DESERVE better.
sana imran Jul 06, 2012 12:56pm
first of all as all know,indoor and emergencies were closed after brutal arrest and torture of doctors...u have no idea after studying for years what doctors get in return,unpaid specializations is a blessing because there are no seats for specialization in Pakistan....a lesson i want to give to up coming docs and their families,plan to send your children abroad if you really want them to get what they deserve...good standard and good skill...sigh! this is statement i'm giving after 26yrs of my closely observing doctors... IF SERVICE STRUCTURE NOT BE PROVIDED,I BET WHOLE BRAIN DRAIN WILL OCCUR...THE LAST THING PAKISTAN HAVE ...SIGH!