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LAHORE, July 9: After observing a 20-day strike at outpatient departments of the public sector hospitals, the young doctors finally resumed their duties on Monday.

The Young Doctors Association (Punjab) had ended strike on Sunday on the directions of the Lahore High Court, making OPDs, indoor departments and emergencies of the public sector hospitals fully functional. As the striking medics rejoined their duties, the health professionals including army doctors who had been called to run the OPDs on a temporary basis returned to their respective departments.

Meanwhile, the health department is continuing with hiring of new doctors to ensure treatment of the patients in case of any further agitation by the YDA.

A source said the health authorities adopted a strategy under which enough human resource would be ensured to counter any future strike by doctors.

In this connection, appointment orders were issued to 414 ad hoc doctors in BS-17. These appointments were recommended by heads of various health institutions after conducting walk-in interviews of interested candidates.

According to the notification, 50 ad hoc doctors have been appointed at Services Hospital (Lahore), 23 at Holy Family Hospital (Rawalpindi), 20 at Benezir Bhutto Hospital (Rawalpinidi), five at District Headquarters Hospital (Rawalpindi), 37 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (Lahore), 13 at Children’s Hospital (Lahore), 15 at the Allied Hospital (Faisalabad), 50 at Mayo Hospital (Lahore), 14 at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (Lahore), 46 at Bahawal Victoria Hospital (Bahawalpur) and 45 at Lahore General Hospital (LGH).

The source said the health department had issued orders for the recruitment of 50 ad hoc medical officers (MOs/WMOs) each for the teaching hospitals and 20 anesthetics each for all the state-run hospitals of the province besides recruitment of paid house officers (HOs) as per requirement of the health facilities. The appointments of the rest of the ad hoc doctors were being processed.

Earlier, around 1,050 doctors in BS-17, including 850 WMOs and 200 MOs recommended by the Punjab Public Service Commission, have been inducted in the health department who were posted, particularly at the OPDs, indoor and emergencies of the state-run hospitals during the recent strike.

A health department official said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had directed the authorities concerned to ensure security of the newly-appointed doctors at the hospitals. He said the instructions came particularly after the YDA raised objections to the recruitment of the ad hoc doctors. The CM’s Secretariat also received complaints that the YDA activists were creating hurdles in the appointment of new medics.

The health department has asked the ad hoc doctors to join duties without fearing opposition by the YDA.