LAHORE: While holding the postgraduate residents enrolled with the College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) mainly responsible for the ongoing strike in hospitals across the province, the health department has sought help of the CPSP president to tackle the medics.

The department is of the view that the Punjab government is paying a stipend of Rs9,800 million to the three categories of employees annually and despite this huge financial support they create ‘law and order situation’ in the public sector hospitals.

Of the total allocation, a major chunk (Rs6,551 million) is going to the 6,600 PGRs, Rs1,747 million to 3,200 house officers and 1,501 million to 6,225 nurses.

A PGR gets monthly stipend of Rs82,700, a house officer Rs45,500 and a nurse student Rs20,100, the department said.

It held brainstorming sessions in many recent meetings convened in connection with the protest against the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance and concluded that the CPSP should be engaged to neutralise the PGs.

The health department wrote a letter to CPSP President Prof Zafarullah Chaudhry on Friday and asked him to attend the meeting scheduled to be held on Oct 23. A final decision would be taken during the meeting.

In a related development, the health department has constituted a three-member committee of senior medics having close association with the CPSP to hold dialogue with the representatives of the striking doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Services Institute of Medical Sciences Lahore (Services Hospital) Principal Prof Mahmood Ayyaz has been made convener of the committee while King Edward Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof Khalid Masood Gondal and Fatima Jinnah Medical University VC Prof Aamer Zaman Khan are its members.

A notification to the effect was issued on Saturday with directions to hear the grievances of the protesters and submit a detailed report with 48 hours.

In a letter, Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department Secretary Momin Agha informed the CPSP president about the ‘negative role’ of the PGRs in instigating the other employees against the government. It said the Punjab government had made all its tertiary care facilities fully available for training purposes and regularly pays handsome monthly stipend to the postgraduate residents which is over Rs6.5 billion per annum, the letter states.

“However, recently a number of PGRs have been found to be involved in disruption of healthcare services and creating law and order situation,” reads the letter.

“The incidents have been reported where they used abusive language against their senior professors/supervisors and tried to forcibly stop them to perform their official duties,” it says.

They have been guilty of conduct unbecoming of a doctor. In view of repeated incidents of misbehaviour on part of the PGRs with senior faculty members, says the letter, the academic council of the Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore has also passed a strong resolution against the PGRs involved in such disruptive activities.

The health department secretary asked the CPSP president to attend the upcoming meeting to take a final decision.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019