LAHORE: The Young Doctors Association (YDA) on Sunday suspended its strike in the public sector teaching institutes of Lahore against the proposed Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act for seven days following a successful dialogue with the government.

The provincial health department has constituted a 15-member committee, including different universities’ vice-chancellors, representatives of the YDA, nurses and paramedics to deliberate on the proposed act.

The committee, to be assisted by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) president Dr Ashraf Nizami, is supposed to submit its recommendations to the government within seven days.

The government representatives also agreed to the YDA’s demand that the MTI Act would not be discussed in the Punjab Assembly till the recommendations were made by the committee in the next seven days.

Health department Special secretary Shakeel Ahmad, PMA president Dr Ashraf Nizami and YDA secretary general Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry in a joint press conference announced suspension of the strike and opening of the OPDs in the teaching institutions from Monday (today).

The committee comprises the special secretary, King Edward Medical University vice-chancellor Prof Khalid Masood Gondal, the Fatima Jinnah Women University VC Prof Aamer Zaman Khan, Services Institute of Medical Sciences Principal Prof Mahmood Ayyaz, KEMU Professor of Surgery Dr Abrar Ashraf, PMA President Dr Ashraf Nizami, PMA representative Dr Kamran Sheikh, YDA representatives Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry, Dr Hamid Jugg, Dr Umar Shafiq, nurses’ representatives Ms Shahnaz Kausar, Ms Rozina, paramedics association representatives Malik Munir, Arshad Butt and Yousuf Billa.

Health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid had accused the CPSP office-bearers and councillors, who are holding key offices in the Punjab government’s medical universities and colleges, of inciting young doctors to strike in Lahore’s major hospitals. incite Prime Minister Imran Khan had chided all those opposing the MTI Act, saying such elements were ignorant of the ground realities. He said the government did not want to privatise the public hospitals, but it intended to improve the management system and bring it on a par with the private healthcare facilities – to benefit the poor.

He said the MTI Act would introduce carrot and stick approach to manage the public hospitals.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2019