HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare Services Providers and Facilities (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2020, be implemented. The doctors of Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar and Dogra Hospital in Khyber district have been on strike for the past few days to protest incidents of hooliganism at their institutions and demand legal action against the perpetrators, who allegedly include two MPAs from the PPP and BAP, under the above-mentioned law. A group of people led by the lawmakers threatened the doctors while violently protesting the death of a young boy from Khyber district at the Hayatabad Medical Complex on April 30. A a day later, a PTI MNA with a group of people reportedly barged into Dogra Hospital in Khyber district where he had a heated exchange with the medical superintendent whom he is said to have held hostage for a couple of hours.
Such violence against doctors is not new, and often protesters, that include angry relatives, have resorted to damaging property and attacking medical personnel for real or perceived medical blunders. But for members of parliament to lead the charge is simply appalling. As holders of public office, they should be assuaging feelings of rage and working for the benefit of healthcare workers and the public instead of abusing their position and instigating brawls. Those responsible should face the law while the political parties to which these legislators belong should take strict action against them if their active participation is established. No doctor deserves to be hounded in this manner; there are less damaging ways of taking to task medics who are found wanting in their professional duties. In these times of Covid-19, doctors are working round the clock as wards fill up with patients. Their services are indispensable. In the current case, the doctors, who are rightfully demanding the law’s enforcement, should rethink their strike as there are thousands of people who need their healing touch.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2021