Bad medicine: A slap in the face and promotions lead to doctors protests

Published: February 7, 2012

Jinnah doctors boycott work, at Civil hospital demands issued. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: 

Patients going to two of the city’s largest hospitals encountered two protests on Monday – one for promotions and one over a slap.

Angry doctors at Civil Hospital, Karachi set up a camp and went on strike at the main gate over a three-month delay in their promotions while patients headed to the gynaecology ward at Jinnah hospital were turned away as staff went on protest after a professor reportedly slapped a junior doctor on duty.

According to reports, Professor Nagina, who is in charge of gynaecology ward No. 9, allegedly slapped a doctor, leading to a three-hour boycott in the morning at the gynaecology and OPD wards. After intervention from senior administrators the doctors patched up.

Meanwhile, at Civil Hospital, the doctors said they had 12 demands, the main being time-scale promotions as ordered by a court on June 1.

According to Dr Khalil Pathan, who runs the diabetic OPD, the administration had three months to implement the court order in their favour. According to time scale, a doctor is promoted from grade 17 to grade 18 after seven years, to grade 19 after 12 years and grade 20 after 17 years. “But we have doctors who have not been promoted to grade 18 since 1995,” he explained.

The doctors want the government to give them a permanent service structure for general cadre doctors, specialists and dental surgeons working at the provincial health department. The protesting doctors said that according to an estimate there are about 11,000 doctors (grades 17 to 20), who are waiting for promotions.

They also asked the government to appoint approximately 5,000 more doctors in the province as according to estimates, 30% of hospitals and health centres in Sindh are short staffed.

Doctors working in the People’s Primary Health Initiative (PPHI) and family planning department also want permanent jobs. Those who are on contract or appointed ad hoc, want to be counted when it comes to seniority.

Also on the agenda are health packages for doctors as announced by the government and protection from kidnapping and target killings. Another point is that Sindh Medical College be upgraded to a university.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2012. 

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