RAWALPINDI: Patients at three government run hospitals suffered on Thursday as youngdoctorswent on strike against the termination and arrest of doctors, principal medical officer in Sahiwal.

The youngdoctorsare onstrikeon the call of Punjab YDA, demanding end to the cases against the doctors, sought apology from the Punjab Secretary Health or Punjab chief minister for ordering arrest and termination of doctors, principal medical officer in Sahiwal Hospital during the visit of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz.

Reports indicate that four senior officials, including the principal medical officer, were terminated from service and arrested on the verbal orders of Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif during her visit to the hospital.

They were reportedly found negligent to the fire incident caused by the malfunctioning of air-conditioning system on the third floor of the paediatric ward at Sahiwal Teaching Hospital (STH) on June 9.

This led to clashes between police and doctors on the hospital premises. Following the CM’s verbal orders, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) called a strike, halting all OPD and other services at Sahiwal Hospital and across Punjab.

Thedoctorsasked Punjab government to meet their demands. They said if the provincial government failed in this regard they would chalk out future course.

YDA Punjab sought apology from Punjab chief minister or Secretary Health who ordered the police to arrest doctors without any inquiry.

“We demanded fair and transparent inquiry before termination and arrest of the senior doctors as all the allegations are fabricated and without any evidence,” said YDA Rawalpindi Chapter President Dr Hamayun Warriach while talking to Dawn.

He said the strike was started a day before Eid and doctors refused to resume their duties in OPDs of three teaching hospitals in the garrison city after Eid. He said that YDA Punjab termed Punjab government’s action to arrest the doctors as humiliation of the profession.

“How can the police arrest the doctors without any inquiry on verbal orders,” he said.

He said strike would continue in the garrison city on Friday till the acceptance of their demands. “The doctors are working in emergency and wards but we will expand our strike to emergency department if the government failed to listen to our point of view and stop humiliation of doctors and nurses,” he said.

He said the emergency service was being provided to the patients at emergency department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Outpatient Departments (OPDs) at Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Holy Family Hospital (HFH) were closed from morning to afternoon. Upon this, the hospitals’ managements asked seniordoctorsto examine patients who visited the hospitals from different parts of the city with serious health complications.

The officials of three government hospitals said that the health services halted at government hospitals due to thestrike. They said that the seniordoctorswere working overtime to provide treatment to the people who visited the hospitals. More than 4,500 patients daily visit three government hospitals in the city.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

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