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Punjab declares emergency in teaching hospitals.

Byline: Aamir Yasin

RAWALPINDI -- The Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department has declared an emergency in teaching hospitals and asked the district administration to provide medical facilities with security in case of an emergency in the wake of the ongoing strike by young doctors against the Medical Teaching Institutes (MTI) Reforms Act.

Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has also directed medical universities and colleges across the province to make lists of young doctors who are 'troublemakers'.

Read: CPSP orchestrated YDA strike, claims minister

In Rawalpindi, the minister directed the medical superintendents of Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital to submit their lists to the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) immediately.

Dr Rashid issued the orders after a meeting of the RMU syndicate. She asked senior professors and teaching staff to open outpatient departments in order to counter the strike, which has been going on for 10 days.

Health minister seeks lists of 'troublemaking' young doctors on strike

She also met with professors and discussed the MTI act. She said the service structure of teaching staff would not be affected by the new reforms, and asked them to provide facilities to patients.

The medical superintendents of all three hospitals have begun working on lists that will declare young doctors 'troublemakers'.

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab has condemned the decision to make lists of the striking doctors.

'We will resist the move and continue our strike in all government-run hospitals in the coming days until our demands are met,' YDA Rawalpindi President Dr Rana Azeem told Dawn.

He said senior professors and teaching staff are working on directives from the health minister, and had left the movement of young doctors and nurses against the privatisation of government-run hospitals.

Dr Azeem said the government wants to privatise hospitals and patients would suffer in coming days if the act is implemented. Patients already face high fees from pathological laboratories in teaching hospitals, he said, and the fee will also be imposed on critical care patients.

He said medical superintendents had made lists of active members of the grand health alliance, which includes doctors, nurses and lab assistants.

He said they had asked for all 1,800 young doctors to be included on the lists because they were all active participants of the strike.

When contacted, RMU Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Umer said emergency has been declared in teaching hospitals and the district administration has been asked to provide security when needed.

The outpatient departments of the three teaching hospitals have been opened to the public and senior teaching faculty have been working to provide patients relief during the strike, he added.

Dr Umer said the young doctors' strike was unjustified and they were only creating problems for patients.

He said the government was working to improve the working of the hospital, and had brought the MTI act in this regard.

He said lists of young doctors involved in the strike have been prepared across the province, adding that medical superintendents have been asked to ensure patients are provided healthcare facilities without any hurdles.

He confirmed that the health minister met with senior faculty members in Rawalpindi and spoke about 'misunderstandings' concerning the act. He added that there is a need to provide relief to patients in Ramazan instead of creating problems for them.

More than 6,000 patients visit Rawalpindi's three government-run hospitals every day, and the doctors' strike has now reached 10 days.

Most of them have been forced by the strike to turn to private clinics and hospitals instead, and those who cannot afford to do so shuttle between hospitals outpatient departments and overcrowded emergency departments.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 12, 2019
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