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LAHORE: No wonder if one sees a doctor clad in police uniform treating a patient side by side an army medical officer in some Lahore hospitals.

The Punjab government has fielded six police officers with medical qualification in as many hospitals to attend patients to meet the shortage of doctors in public hospitals, Dawn has learnt.

It has yet to be seen if the police officers, who have not been in medicine practice for over a decade or so, would do any good to the visiting patients. An official order issued by the office of the Punjab additional inspector general was circulated across the province on Monday with a direction that the police officers with medical qualification would coordinate with medical superintendents of hospitals, a field police officer told Dawn.

The order does not specify medical assignments for the police officers.

A meeting of police officials under the chair of provincial police chief heard that doctor police officers had been deployed in six public hospitals to treat the patients.

Punjab Elite Police Force Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Dr Mirza Shakeel Ahmed has been deployed in Mayo Hospital, DIG Dr Mohammad Azeem Khan Leghari in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Punjab CTD SSP Dr Masood Saleem Jinnah Hospital, SSP Dr Tariq Chohan Services Hospital, Sadar Circle Sheikhupura DPO Dr Mohammad Iqbal Lahore General Hospital and DSP Dr Mustansar Atta Bajwa has been deployed in Children’s Hospital.

A source at the Punjab Police Headquarters said that the IG received orders from the chief minister to appoint medical graduate police officers in city hospitals.

He said in the next phase police officers working in other cities of Punjab would also be called to public hospitals for administrative and medical treatment.

Some police officers are skeptical of the move.

“I wonder how the officers, who have abandoned the medical practice for years, can treat patients,” said an officer.

Dr Mirza Shakeel Ahmed, who has been deployed in Mayo Hospital for medical duty and appointed focal person to coordinate with the health department, could not be reached for comments.

Also, contingent of police are protecting public hospitals to deal with any eventuality, IG Habibur Rehman said at a high level meeting held to review the strike called by the Young Doctor’s Association.

The meeting learnt a police officer of the SP rank had been deployed immediately in every teaching hospital to supervise security situation to avoid any untoward incident in the hospital’s premises.

Moreover, it was also decided to nominate Dr Mirza Shakeel Ahmed as a coordinator / focal person to keep constant coordination with the health department. He will be also responsible to have close liaison with the medical superintendents of these hospitals.