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Young Doctors Association strikers ignore govt warning

Updated August 03, 2017


Relatives of the patients perturbed due to a strike by young doctors sit on benches outside the Mayo Hospital emergency. — Online
Relatives of the patients perturbed due to a strike by young doctors sit on benches outside the Mayo Hospital emergency. — Online

LAHORE: The ‘disgruntled’ segment in the Young Doctors Association (YDA) continued for the second day on Wednesday their strike in the outpatient departments of two teaching hospitals of Lahore though their leadership had assured health authorities of resuming work a day earlier.

A senior medical teacher told Dawn that a group of YDA activists held meeting with the Minister for Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Khwaja Salman Rafique and other high-ups late on Tuesday night and agreed to end their strike in the morning.

However, young doctors did reach Services and Jinnah hospitals besides the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in the morning but started forcing their colleagues to vacate the premises while locking up rooms of the OPDs.

The situation not only took the Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education (SHME) department authorities by surprise but also caused embarrassment for the senior medical teachers who had been instrumental in arranging the meeting.

List of ‘troublemakers’ prepared for action

Annoyed at the adamant attitude of the YDA, the senior teachers gave a green signal to the SHME department to tackle with the troublemakers with an iron hand.

Eventually, Minister for SHME Khwaja Salman Rafique convened a meeting which was also attended by Faisalabad Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Alfareed Zafar, University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Junaid Sarfraz Khan and King Edward Medical University’s Department of Surgery Chairman Prof Dr Khalid Masood Gondal.

Presiding over the meeting, Khwaja Salman Rafique was all praise for the faculty members and young doctors who kept the emergency department of Services and Jinnah hospitals operational. He also thanked the young doctors of Mayo Hospital and other teaching hospitals for not paying any heed to the strike call.

The meeting unanimously decided to give the striking lot an ultimatum to resume work by 8pm or face the sack. The minister issued directions to the heads of all specialised healthcare institutions to forward lists of trainee doctors absent from their duty without intimation.

The minister also authorised the administrations of the teaching hospitals to issue termination [from service] letters to all medical officers/PG trainee doctors not resuming duty after 8pm on Wednesday.

He also sought performance report of the 116 striking postgraduate trainee doctors based on the assessment of their supervisors concerned.

The deadline was ignored by the ‘troublemakers’ in the YDA and they stuck to their stance -- acceptance of all demands.

The heads of medical institutions have finalised a list of 90 doctors who were absent from duty on Wednesday and forwarded it to the SHME department for further action.

The administration of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital issued warning to PG trainees Dr Aina Mahmood, Dr Haroon and Dr Hafiza Amna Mujahid besides medical officer Dr Muhammad Imran for remaining absent from duty without any information or intimation.

Deducting one-day stipend of the trainee doctors and one-day salary of the medical officer, the administration advised the doctors to be careful in future.

PROBE INTO PATIENTS DEATH: The SHME department has constituted two committees to probe the death of three patients during the strike of YDA in Lahore and Faisalabad.

Two professors of medicines at the King Edward Medical University, Dr Irshad Hussain (convener) and Dr Sajid Abaidullah (member), constitute the committee that would ascertain the cause of death of one patient each at Services and Jinnah hospitals in Lahore.

Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology Executive Director Prof Anjum Jalal as convener while Professor of Medicine Dr Khalid Ameen as member would probe the death of a patient at Allied Hospital.

Both the committees would also ascertain whether the patients were properly attended by doctors besides fixing responsibility in case of denying treatment or any other negligence.

PRINCIPAL TRANSFERRED: Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) Principal Prof Dr Hamid Mahmood was on Wednesday asked to report to the SHME department ‘on administrative grounds’ and SIMS Professor of Surgery Dr Mahmood Ayaz was asked to take charge in additional to his own duties.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2017