Doctors’ representatives and Finance Department officials will discuss the financial aspects of the doctors’ demands for revisions to their service structure on Wednesday, but the strike at outpatient departments in public hospitals will continue.
Thousands of patients, many from out of town, were turned away from the city’s public hospitals on Tuesday as the strike called by the Young Doctors Association’s (YDA) Punjab chapter continued for a second day.
In their first meeting since the strike began, doctors’ representatives met with Health Department officials on Tuesday night. At the end, it was announced that YDA, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and Medical Teachers Association (MTA) representatives would meet with a deputy secretary of the Finance Department on Wednesday.
Participants in the meeting said that the two sides stood miles apart on how much a one grade promotion for all doctors employed by the provincial government – a demand of the doctors – would cost.
“Our calculations show that if doctors are given a one-grade promotion, it would cost about Rs2 billion. The Health Department says it will cost around Rs35 billion,” said a doctor. He dismissed the department’s claim that it would cost Rs94 billion to accept all the demands being made by the doctors.
Asked if the doctors would call off their strike in view of the negotiations, YDA Punjab spokesman Dr Nasir Bokhari said that they would not. “Our strike will continue and we will also negotiate with the government.
The strike will be called off only when a final draft regarding the service structure is made.”
He said that the YDA did not trust the government since the last time they had called off their strike, the government had pledged to come up with a new service structure within a month, but had not done so.
Separately, MTA officials held a press conference at the Allama Iqbal Medical College urging the government to exempt teaching hospitals from load shedding in the province.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2012.
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