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Doctors' strike frustrates patients in Rawalpindi.

RAWALPINDI -- Patients at the outpatient departments of the three allied hospitals in Rawalpindi were left frustrated on Thursday after doctors allied with a provincial body of doctors boycotted their duties.

The doctors were boycotting outpatient departments (OPD) of the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), Holy Family Hospital (HFH) and Benazir Bhutto General Hospital (BBH) on the call of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) as they protested against the proposed medical teaching institute (MTI) law in the province.

Medical and Para-medical staff locked down the OPD reception desk and staged a protest against the MTI Act.

During the strike, operations in the emergency, intensive care units and operation theatres remained functional.

Attempts by the hospital administration to make alternative medical arrangements in the OPDs though failed.

The hospital administration had some senior doctors tend to patients in the OPD, but due to the unusual rush, the plan did not prove to be efficient and many patients had to return without being diagnosed or without being given medicines.

Some disgruntled patients who had to return empty-handed said that they had come to the hospital for treatment but the strike by doctors had deprived them of their right for treatment.

They added that the responsibility fell on the shoulders of the doctors on strike and the government

The protesters said that government hospitals were the last hope for the poor and that this would end if the MTI Act is enforced.

The doctors said that the government had imposed the MTI Act in the hospitals of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) due to which a large number of patients from the province were heading to hospitals in Punjab.

They said that a slip, which the patients got for free, would now cost them Rs200 if the act was enforced. Doctors added that the patients will have to pay set prices on every health facility and vowed that they will never allow the act to be enforced in Punjab.

Noting that their strike is causing problems for the thousands of patients who stream to the public hospitals every day, the protesting medical staffers explained that the purpose of their strike was to prevent the government from imposing this law.

They warned that in the next phase of their strike, the emergency ward will be shut down if their demands are not addressed.

YDA-BBH President Dr Rana Muhammad Azeem stated that they will not accept the black MTI law under any circumstance because it was effectively equal to privatising government hospitals.

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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 3, 2019
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