Doctors’ strike

Published Jul 07, 2012 10:06pm

THE young doctors’ firebrand trade unionism for an improved service structure entered a new, crucial phase on Saturday. The Lahore High Court asked them to reopen all departments at public hospitals on Monday, suspending all actions of the Punjab government against the strikers. A day earlier the LHC had ordered opening of the emergency wards, a step the young doctors had conditioned on the release of their colleagues. Particularly contentious is the booking of four doctors charged with murder following the death of a child under treatment at Mayo Hospital in Lahore. The parents need justice but the doctors argue the murder clause cannot be legally invoked against them. While this is for the court to decide, efforts for an end to the excruciating protest in Punjab’s hospitals will be dogged by this case as well as by other factors that have been allowed to be at play for far too long.

The affair has been badly mishandled. The government is guilty of underestimating the realities that spawned the protest and acting as an ignorant but tough taskmaster. The doctors suffered gravely because their organisation lacked the discipline seen in unions. These oft-cited factors remain relevant as the strikers sit down to plan their future course in the light of the LHC’s orders. There are not just two sets of demands that are at variance here; there are also altogether contrasting manuals for the running of hospitals. When such a clash takes place, a new rule book must emerge. That will be the ultimate result of this doctors’ drive, one which will only begin to take shape after the current hostilities give way to a clear-headed, dispassionate discussion. The two positions have been overstated. There is little sense in prolonging the matter at the cost of patients who have already paid a heavy price for the stand-off.


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Comments (4) (Closed)


ar abid ibrahim
Jul 08, 2012 07:35am
drs are most vulnerablle fraction of society.they are exposed to lethal infections round the clcck. but they are always criticised by media and civil society.they are just demanding proper service structure like other civil servents.
Aslam Khan
Jul 08, 2012 03:46pm
I agree that there is nothing wrong in demanding an improved service structure but the means they have adopted for their demands is questionable.
raika45
Jul 08, 2012 12:22pm
Unlike a civil servant that works from 8 to 4 and then goes home,doctors especially in the government service have no such thing.Day postings,night postings coupled with emergency calls where the life of the patient is in their hands,is a very taxing task.There is a lot of tension at play.To get a pay equivalent to some civil servants with the disparity of responsibility is a joke.The problem is that the doctors do not have the "power" the civil servants have on the government.
farhanshahidkhan
Jul 08, 2012 06:33am
Docs will never listen. They want all the posts in Pakistan from President to Deputy Comissioner