LAHORE: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) leadership accepted a dialogue offer by Minister for Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education (SHME) Khwaja Salman Rafique and other senior officers of the department on Thursday.

The YDA had on Monday threatened that they would not work at the emergency departments of public hospitals if victimisation of young doctors was not stopped in three days.

The deadline was to expire at 3pm on Thursday but the minister once again invited the YDA leadership for talks requesting them not to stop work at the emergency departments of hospitals.

The YDA leadership extended their deadline till 8pm when they reached Civil Secretariat at around 1.30pm after presenting their demands before the minister.

Their demands included an end to victimisation of young doctors holding `peaceful’ protests for the acceptance of their demands, revision of central induction policy for postgraduate training on the recommendations of academic councils of medical institutions, implementation of one-bed, one-patient policy, setting up of burn, intensive and coronary care units at district headquarters hospitals and stoppage of privatisation of public healthcare facilities.

During the dialogue that continued till late in the evening, the minister and his team reiterated the stance that all but one matter could be resolved through talks and in due course of time.

However, the YDA leadership continued pressing on immediate withdrawal of disciplinary action taken against the activists involved in hooliganism at outpatient and emergency departments besides indoor wards that led to denial of treatment to patients, especially those who had come from far-off places to the teaching hospitals.

The dialogue was under way till our going to the press at 11pm.

The SHME on Thursday placed the services of Dr Maroof at the disposal of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department with the request to proceed against him under PEEDA Act 2006.

The services of Dr Shabbir, the vice-president of YDA, had already been placed at the disposal of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department while the number of other activists facing disciplinary action rose to 70.

The vice-chancellors and principals of medical institutions, medical superintendents of teaching hospitals in the public sector from all over the province had already demanded that there should be ban on bodies like the YDA. The Pakistan Medical Association, the apex professional body of doctors, also condemned closure of emergency departments.

A total of 42 doctors, recruited by the Jinnah Hospital administration on Thursday took charge of their duties at the outpatient department where Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Prof Rashid Zia remained present to guide them. The administration of Services Hospital also initiated to hire the services of new doctors on Thursday.

Of the 878 doctors selected under the centralised policy for induction of postgraduate trainees, as many as 855 had joined different teaching hospitals in the province on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017

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