LAHORE: Young Doctors Association (YDA) members on Tuesday announced to resume their protest on March 25 against the Punjab government over their service structure and other issues that have been pending for the last three years.
This was decided after a meeting of the general council of the YDA. The meeting decided that the protest would start on March 25, and that young doctors would suspend services at all public hospitals across the province at 10am. The doctors would then stage protests, take out rallies and hold sit-ins on the roads in front of all hospitals for their demands.
The call for a protest comes after a weeklong protest and sit-in by ad hoc nurses, which ended two days ago, when the government issued a notification to convert ad hoc into contractual employees and vowed that they would be regularised as per the law.
The Punjab government and the Health Department would face another serious problem in the city as well as across the province in case the young doctors resume their protest.
The YDA said that the protest would continue at all government hospitals every day across the province. It added that the LHC had directed the Punjab government to work out a proposal for revision of doctors’ service structure within two weeks on July 7, 2012, but the government had done nothing so far to resolve the issue.
The YDA members said that the young doctors had gone on strike at outpatient departments (OPDs) two years ago to press for better perks and allowances, the PPSC issue and for not paying trainee doctors. The association called off the strike on the instructions of the Lahore High Court, which had set up a committee to come up with recommendations for the service structure’s revision.
While talking to Daily Times, YDA Punjab President Dr Javed Aheer said that achievement of service structure for doctor’s community was the priority of doctors, and every step would be taken to achieve it. “The struggle will continue for this goal.”
He said that the government and the Health Department did not implement on the directives, including service structure, and only two to three percent of the work was completed. “The overall performance is zero.”
He confirmed that the YDA would be restarting its protest across the province on March 25.
The YDA said that the Punjab Health Department took a U-turn on its so-called “strict policy” of not posting medical officers selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission as postgraduate trainees at teaching hospitals.
The members said that the Health Department had appointed medical officers as trainee medical officers on a choose-and-pick basis. They said that 25 medical officers who had a low merit were adjusted at different teaching hospitals to continue their postgraduate training, while the others of higher merit were being humiliated, and their applications were not being entertained.
They said that a few months ago, the Punjab Public Service Commission selected 2,000 medical officers and the Health Department refused to allow them to continue their postgraduate training.
Now, the Punjab health secretary has reportedly given permission to some blue-eyed medical officers, while he refused to even meet others.
On August 23, 2013, The YDA had staged a strike movement against government over 199 house officers’ suspension at different hospitals across Punjab.
The members had said that suspension of HOs at different hospitals was equal to snatching healthcare from the poor people.
They said that there was no law in the service structure to suspend HOs who had been performing their duties for the last 40 years.
On February 8, 2013, YDA representatives vowed to continue the hunger strike until all of their demands were fulfilled. The doctors had chanted slogans against the government for not fulfilling their demands of free medical treatment to the patients at hospitals, implementation of young doctors’ service structure and an end to the “victimisation” of young doctors through termination of their contracts, suspensions and transfers.
The YDA members condemned the indifferent attitude of the Punjab government and the bureaucracy over the service structure. The YDA said that the doctor’s community had started their protest for getting service structure two year back, and the government and all other stakeholders tried to resolve the issue, but bureaucracy always created different hurdles. They said that more than 40 meeting had been held over the issue, but they ended without any result.
The young doctors said that the chief minister needed to personally convene a meeting of representatives of the Health Department, CPSP and young doctors on the serious issue.
The YDA said that the CM should personally get involved into the matter to ensure that people had a healthier Punjab in the future, as the policies made in the Health Department resulted in only waste of human resource and funds.
PMA office-bearer Dr Salman told Daily Times that the bureaucracy had always presented the wrong pictures of the genuine issues in front of the CM, which created troubles for the stakeholders.
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