RAWALPINDI: The young doctors strike entered its third day on Saturday with no respite for patients in sight. The doctors have announced that they would continue their protest even on Monday.

The strike is being observed on the call of Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab which has been demanding repeal of Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reforms Act 2018.

The doctors have set Monday evening as deadline for the Punjab government to meet their demands. They said if the provincial government failed to accept their demands, they would chalk out a new strategy.

Outdoor patient departments (OPDs) at the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Holy Family Hospital (HFH) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) were closed from 8am to 11am on Saturday.

Doctors’ strike enters third day

The young doctors, who were deputed in various wards of the hospitals, also remained absent despite several requests from the administration. No routine rounds of doctors were reported on Saturday.

Though, the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) asked the hospital administrations to depute medical officers in the wards and OPDs, they failed to make any arrangements.

There are more than 300 medical officers in the three government-run hospitals of the city but these are not enough to meet the requirements in the OPDs of the three hospitals.

Normally, young doctors are deputed in wards and OPDs while senior doctors and professors conduct a visit once a day to supervise them.

The officials of the three government hospitals claimed that the senior doctors were supporting the young doctors in the strike as they were the ones who would be directly affected if the MTI Reform Act 2018 was implemented.

A senior HFH official told Dawn that professors and senior doctors would have to wind up their private practice in private hospitals and clinics in the evening as the government wanted to introduce evening shift in the public hospitals for private practice.

He said under the law, the government doctorswould not be able to do private practice. Almost all the doctors

had established their clinics and hospitals where they practiced, adding that in the PML-N tenure, the provincial government tried to stop them but due to strikes by the YDA Punjab, the plan was shelved.

Young Doctors Association (YDA) BBH President Dr Rana Azeem told Dawn that the strike would continue till the government accepted their demands.

He said the YDA was considering withdrawing services of doctors from the emergency department and for this, they would wait till Monday evening.

He said the YDA did not want to create problems for patients but they were protesting for the rights of the patients as well as the government would get fee from every patient in the coming days.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2019