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Doctors’ strike and patients’ suffering

July 01, 2012

THIS is apropos of the strike of young doctors in Punjab and deadlock of negotiation between the government and young doctors. It is very unfortunate that people from this respected profession are protesting for their demands containing an endless wish list.

There is close relation between rights and duties. Doctors must demand what is possible and fair instead of putting forward a long list of ‘unrealistic demands’.

They have already been provided certain incentives by the Punjab government last year. These so-called young doctors are pressuring the government to succumb to their demands which are almost equal to half of the whole budget of Punjab government.

The worst thing is that the medical superintendents of public sector hospitals failed to safeguard the rights of poor patients coming from far-flung areas who were denied treatment in these public sector hospitals for the last 10 days or so but ironically there is no strike in these hospitals for private paying patients. It means that these young doctors are just punishing the hapless poor patients by their strikes whereas affluent people normally do not like to get treatment from public sector hospitals.

I believe that the government should treat all their employees across the board as only doctors are not affected by inflation, rather other professions like pharmacists, statistical officers, health educators, psychologists, etc., are equally affected.

Why is the government looking to cut deal only with doctors? These ‘young doctors’ are playing in the hands of a few senior doctors who want to blackmail the government by these tactics.

It is fact that young doctors’ strike is putting the lives of vulnerable patients at stake. The medical profession is a noble service and the YDA should behave responsibly and only demand just and reasonable demands in the wake of prevailing financial crunch in the country.

These health managers of public sector hospitals have failed to safeguard the rights of the common man, putting the lives of patients at risk. It seems that medical superintendents of public sector hospitals being doctor themselves have more sympathy for their striking fraternity than poor patients.

There can be no improvement in public sector hospitals unless we appoint non-doctors as head of the institutions because the current medical superintendents are unable to regulate and control doctors of the hospital.

Apartheid in government hospitals is deplorable and people are, as a whole, not satisfied with the services of these doctors.

The majority of these doctors are also indulged in private practice and even some go to private clinics during their official duty hours because their is no accountability of doctors in the country.

Moreover, the government should solve the problems of other minority professions of health department besides doctors without any discrimination.


Politics of protests

ONCE again young doctors are on strike, leaving suffering patients at the mercy of agony. I would like to reveal some facts against false claims and demands of protesting doctors.

Doctors in the public sector healthcare system of Punjab are the highest paid as compared to their contemporaries in other provinces. This is in addition to the income earned through private practice by these doctors which is otherwise a clear violation of Rule 16 of Government Servants Conduct Rules 1964 which maintains that a civil servant cannot engage in any private work/employment other than his official duties.

Doctors compare their salary and service structure with civil judges and CSS officers while they forget that those officers are bound to serve in remote areas as well. On the other hand, doctors are never ready to surrender their private practice and privileges of posting in major cities.

Moreover, senior doctors are also silent stakeholders in all this agitation. They need to realise their part as well to save suffering humanity from miseries.In the end, I would request the chief minister of Punjab to take strict measures against such miscreants as the majority of doctors want to serve and do not want to be part of this dirty politics of protests.

I would also request the chief minister to bring health services under the Essential Services Act and all deviants must be given exemplary punishment.


Noble profession

THE Young Doctors Association (YDA) is on strike for the last many days as a result of which patients are going through unspeakable ordeals.

Young doctors have every right to demand batter salary packages but it should not be done at the cost of the poor masses.

Only the downtrodden visit government-run hospitals and those who have means prefer to be treated at private medical facilities.The YDA should bear in mind that by closing outdoor patient departments to the commoners, they are earning a bad name for their profession and themselves.

Medical is such a noble profession, but running it like a cartel is highly offensive and damaging to the reputation of people associated with this nobility. It is not a hard equation to understand that earning a few more paisas as they are doing right now and in return losing the goodwill among the public is not a profitable deal at all.

We all know that doctors aren’t just dependent on government salaries. Their private practice is much more rewarding for them.

You may have seen professionals such as teachers, lawyers, bureaucrats, traders, etc., complaining that they find it difficult to make ends meet. But you will never come across a doctor who is not well off. I have never seen a doctor travelling in public transport.

I must say doctors should take a pity on the poor masses and call off their strike.