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Young doctors: more protests less service

Young doctors during a strike. — Photo by Online

ISLAMABAD, Sept 26: With the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) not taking ‘a clear stance’ over the posting of a Lahore-based physician in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Young Doctors Association (YDA) for the umpteenth time has resorted to protesting.

The YDA has announced closure of hospital services for two hours on a daily basis.

The YDA Islamabad chapter has been protesting against the failure of the ministry for not taking a clear position over the posting of Prof Riaz Warraich.

It is pertinent to mention that on the orders of Federal Minister Nazar Mohammad Gondal, a summary was moved by the secretary of CAD to the prime minister, suggesting that Prof Riaz Warraich should head the federal capital’s largest hospital.

Prof Riaz Ahmed Warraich is also the head of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital, Lahore.

But Prof Riaz’s appointment has become a serious concern among the senior physicians and the faculty members of Pims.

Staff members feel that Prof Mahmood Jamal — serving head of Pims — has positively contributed during his two-year stint with the hospital for the development of the institution.

A source added that Prof Jamal was disliked by the CAD minister, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, since he had refused to appoint a few political persons in the hospital.

However, a message circulated by the YDA committee headed by Dr Asfandyar Khan on Wednesday said: “YDA Islamabad and Joint Action Committee of the Pims have initiated a token strike in Outpatient Department (OPD) against the appointment of Dr Riaz Warriach as executive director of the hospital.”

“The OPD services were withdrawn from 11am to 1pm and all the doctors, paramedical and clerical staff of the hospital have warned the government that they will not allow anybody from outside Pims and we (YDA) will completely shutdown the services at the hospital,” says the text message sent to media by the YDA officials.

The message said: “The token strike will continue until the government cancels the notification of appointment of Prof Warraich as executive director of the hospital.”

“There will be complete strike and we will shut down OPD, in case an outsider is posted as the executive director of Pims,” Dr Asfyandyar Khan briefed the media along with Joint Action Committee members.

Dr Khan said: “Minister Gondal is not serious in helping the PPP government to improve governance and such decisions like posting of a Lahore-based physician as Pims head will not do any good for helping the management of the hospital.”

Dr Khan added: “We will completely shutdown every service at the hospital and federal minister and his government will be responsible for the mess if the government fails to cancel the notification of Prof Warraich.”

Meanwhile, the ministry also ignored senior physicians of the hospital for a likely posting as an executive director of the hospital saying: “Prof Aslam Shah, Prof Zaheer Abbasi, Prof Tariq, Prof Nadeem, and Prof Khaleequz Zaman, are the senior most physicians working at the hospital but they were never considered for the post.”

The official said that a few doctors can also be appointed as executive director of the hospital by the federal government and they are none other than Pims senior managers, Dr Altaf Hussain, Dr Raja Amjad, and Dr Jahanzeb Aurakzai — a blue eyed of PPP and the federal bureaucracy.

Despite multiple attempts, the minister for CAD, Nazar Gondal was not available to comment on the matter.