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Young doctors disregard patients’ woes, continue strike

June 21, 2012

RAWALPINDI, June 21: As if the suffering of ailing fellow human beings meant nothing for the striking white coats, the boycott of young doctors entered the 4th consecutive day and the poor patients in the garrison city continued to bear its brunt.

Mohammad Khan, a patient at District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital whose left arm was fractured, seemed helpless to find no helping hand at the hospital to look after him and remarked if he was able to pay the heavy fee of doctors at private clinics he would not come to government hospitals.

Fareeda Begum, a patient with complaint of high blood pressure, said she went to the Out Patients Department (OPD) where some striking doctors advised her to come back after a week.

Hospital officials told Dawn that many patients had to go back without getting medical assistance as the senior doctors also refused to attend the patients flooding in great numbers.

However, they claimed, emergency departments continued functioning as the administration of the three allied hospitals called some doctors who were in administration wing for the treatment of patients who needed immediate attention.

Young Doctors Association (YDA), on the other hand, linked the end of strike to the issuance of notification of pay raise by Punjab government.

While talking to Dawn, YDA Punjab Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon said the YDA representatives had met the Punjab government’s representatives and the issue would be resolved soon.

“On Thursday, the OPDs at three government-run hospitals were closed to press the government to accept their demands,” said Dr Haroon.

To a question, he replied the YDA would resort to street protests if the government failed to issue notification of improved service structure.

When his attention was drawn to the humanitarian-crisis like situation surfacing at the government-run hospitals, he said the young doctors had already made it quite clear that unless the government issued notification of improved service structure, normalcy would not be restored in the allied hospitals and added the YDA wanted Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif and District Health Department to fulfill their promises made the previous year, in the true letter and spirit.

On the other side, sources in health department said preparation of service structure for all cadres of doctors required an extensive hard work.

A health department official on condition of anonymity said it was not an easy job to frame a service structure for 24,000 doctors working across Punjab.