The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab will consider plans for strikes and protests with other medical associations at a “grand convention” on the subject of the service structure for government doctors on June 13.
Members of the YDA Punjab went on strike at outpatient departments in public hospitals in Lahore in May to protest at some transfers and to demand changes to the career progression for doctors employed by the Health Department. The strike ended on May 7 after negotiations with the government yielded a committee that was to make its recommendations for changes to the service structure within a month.
With the deadline passing yesterday without any suggestions forthcoming, a meeting of the YDA General Council and Central Body at the Mayo Hospital hostel for doctors on Thursday decided to hold a “grand convention” on the service structure issue on June 13.
“We have held several meetings with [Law Minister] Rana Sanaullah, [Punjab government spokesman] Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and others but no work has been done on this issue,” said YDA Punjab spokesman Dr Nasir Bokhari.
He said that the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), the Medical Teachers Association (MTA) and the YDA Pakistan chapter would be invited to attend the convention and present their suggestions on an improved service structure.
“The service structure is an issue for the whole medical community and we will invite representatives from all doctors’ associations,” YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt told The Express Tribune. “If they are doctors, they will be invited.”
The YDA officials said they wanted to invite Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to the convention as well, but had been unable to reach them. “We are extending an invitation to them through the media,” Dr Butt said.
He said that the YDA would announce its plans for a potential strike or province-wide protests after the convention. Meanwhile, YDA Punjab members will record their protest against the delay in the service structure reform by wearing black armbands at work from Friday.
Khawaja Salman Rafique, the chief minister’s special adviser on healthcare and the convener of the service structure committee, said the body was still working on the matter and urged the YDA not to rush back into a strike.
Apart from Rafique, Rashid and Sanaullah, the committee includes the law, health, finance, prosecution and regulation secretaries, as well as representatives of the YDA, PMA and MTA.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.
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