Body formed to hold dialogue with striking doctors in Punjab

Updated November 06, 2019

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The step was taken some three weeks after the strike by the public hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, against the enforcement of the Medical Teaching Institutions Ordinance. — Dawn/File
The step was taken some three weeks after the strike by the public hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, against the enforcement of the Medical Teaching Institutions Ordinance. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: The Punjab government has constituted a five-member high-powered committee for negotiations with the protesting employees of the teaching hospitals of the province.

The step was taken some three weeks after the strike by the public hospital employees, including doctors and nurses, against the enforcement of the Medical Teaching Institutions Ordinance.

Headed by Additional Chief Secretary Sardar Ajaz Ahmad Khan Jaffar, the committee has been assigned the task of hearing the grievances of the doctors, nurses and paramedics, to identify their reservations, objections and amendments proposed in the MTI Ordinance.

“The committee is fully authorised to hold meaningful dialogues on behalf of the Punjab government with the striking doctors and other health professionals, including nurses and paramedics and take measures to resolve all the issues so that the service delivery to the patients is resumed”, reads the notification of the committee issued on Tuesday.

LHC tells secretary to ensure smooth healthcare for public

The other members of the committee include special secretary of the specialized healthcare & medical education department Shakeel Ahmad, vice chancellor of the Fatima Jinnah Medical University Lahore Prof Dr Aamer Zaman Khan, chief executive officer of the Mayo Hospital, Lahore, Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan and ex-director general of the health services (Punjab) Dr Zahid Pervez.

An official said the convener (head of the committee) called its first meeting today (on Wednesday) at 10:30am at the Punjab Civil Secretariat.

He said the committee would discussed the matter in detail and would call another meeting, inviting the representatives of the protesting employees for negotiations.

LHC: Hearing a public interest petition against the strike by young doctors, the Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the provincial secretary for specialised healthcare and medical education department to ensure provision of uninterrupted health service to the public at the government-run hospitals.

Justice Jawad Hassan also summoned a senior officer of the department on Wednesday (today) with complete facts of the matter.

Earlier, petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique argued that fundamental rights of the citizens were being infringed upon due to inaction of the respondent secretary and the protest activities of the Young Doctors Association (YDA).

He said the YDA had been leading all doctors working in the public hospitals in the strikes, depriving the citizens of health facilities in indoor, outdoor, and emergencies wards of the hospitals.

He said it was the state’s duty to provide medical facilities to the public and the respondents were supposed to obey the Constitution and the law regulating the provisions of Code of Ethics for Medical & Dental Practitioners.

The counsel argued that the law did not allow doctors to refuse medical facility to any patient as medical profession fell within the category of compulsory services.

He said every public functionary was bound to obey the Constitution and function in good faith and honesty.

He pointed out that the YDA members had to obey the laws regulating their profession formulated by the Pakistan Medical Commission.

He asked the court to order the provincial government to take strict action against the protesting doctors and also order them to end their strike.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Hassan directed the specialized healthcare secretary to ensure provision of healthcare facilities to the citizens in indoor, outdoor and emergencies at all the government hospitals in the province without any delay.

The young doctors have been on strike for around three weeks against the enforcement of medical teaching institution ordinance in the hospitals.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2019