Young doctors’ strike enters fifth day in Rawalpindi

Updated October 16, 2019

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Young doctors are seeking repeal of Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reforms Act 2018. — Online/File
Young doctors are seeking repeal of Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reforms Act 2018. — Online/File

RAWALPINDI: Patients at three government-run hospitals continued to suffer as strike of young doctors entered fifth day on Tuesday.

They also plan to boycott wards from Thursday if their demands are not accepted.

The young doctors have been on strike since last Friday seeking repeal of Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reforms Act 2018.

The doctors set Thursday evening as deadline for Punjab government to accept their demands. The doctors said if the provincial government failed in this regard they would start street protest and withdraw services from general and dengue wards.

Outpatient Departments (OPDs) at District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Holy Family Hospital (HFH) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) remained closed on Tuesday.

However, the doctors remained on duty in dengue wards and emergency departments. Due to closure of OPDs, patients thronged emergency departments of the hospitals and mostly had to turn to private clinics.

Though the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) has deputed senior professors and doctors in OPDs, they remained absent from their duties.

The hospital administration tried to manage the things but failed to cope with the situation.

The officials of three government hospitals said the strike had badly affected the health services at the three hospitals.

They said senior doctors were supporting the young doctors’ strike as they too would suffer a lot after implementation of the MTI Reforms Act 2018.

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

He said they would resist if the government dismissed Grand Health Alliance (GHA) Chairman Dr Suleman Haseeb.

He said the YDA and GHA would hold meeting on Wednesday to decide future course of action. Mr Azeem said they would not accept MTI act and the government should repeal it.

He said three government hospitals administration in Rawalpindi started taking revenge from doctors especially female ones.

“BBH medical superintendent threatened female doctors to join duties otherwise punitive action will be taken against them,” YDA City President Rana Azeem alleged.

The YDA president said the matter had been brought into the notice of senior professors and the RMU administration.

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

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2019