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LHC orders legal action against hospital’s ‘negligent’ medics, staff

Updated February 19, 2019

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The doctors and allied staff have been observing a strike in the ABSTH and other public and private hospitals.— Photo courtesy of LHC
The doctors and allied staff have been observing a strike in the ABSTH and other public and private hospitals.— Photo courtesy of LHC

GUJRAT: The Lahore High Court has issued directions to the medical superintendent of the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) to take legal action against those medical officers and officials of the hospital who were found negligent in performing their duties.

The doctors and allied staff had been observing a strike in the ABSTH and other public and private hospitals of the district for a week against which a local trade union activist, Shahbaz Saeed, had filed a writ petition in the high court.

He had pleaded through his counsel that the protesting doctors and health department administration were not ensuring service delivery to the public in the government hospitals.

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) had been agitating against the raids by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on two private hospitals respectively owned by the association’s Gujrat president Dr Maqsood Zahid and its ex-head Dr Zahid Zaheer.

However, the body called off the strike after “successful” negotiations with the FBR officials on Feb 13.

Though the petition was disposed off by the court after the medical superintendent of ABSTH told the judge that the doctors had already ended the strike, the court ordered legal action against the protesters on Feb 14 and the written orders were issued on Monday.

The court also directed the MS to take action within three months and submit a report to the LHC’s deputy registrar (Judicial). In case of failure in taking any legal action the matter might be put before the learned bench again for an appropriate order, it directed.

Official sources told Dawn the MS Dr Abid Ghauri could only recommend legal action against the doctors to the Punjab health department for a punitive action since ABSTH had been a teaching hospital that worked under direct control of the secretary concerned.

Sources said the hospital administration had been preparing list of those medical officers, including those working in the Nawaz Sharif Medical College (NSMC), a constituent college of the University of Gujrat (UoG), who played active role in the recent and past agitations.

An official seeking anonymity said some of the “trouble-makers” who had been behind strikes and protests in the public sector health facilities, might either be transferred or removed from the service under the Peeda Act.

He said any kind of punitive action against the doctors would now have a legal cover of the court direction.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019