RAWALPINDI: Patients at the outpatient departments (OPD) of the three allied hospitals in Rawalpindi were left in the lurch after young doctors refused to work on Saturday.
Their refusal to work was part of a planned boycott of OPD services at government hospitals which was held in tandem with similar protests by members of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) chapters across Punjab on Saturday.
However, some senior doctors stepped in to fill the gap left by the boycotting doctors and tended to patients visiting OPDs at the Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), and District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ). But it did not ameliorate the situation completely.
According to hospital officials, around 5,000 to 6,000 patients visit OPDs of the hospitals everyday.
Some 3, 000 patients visit the OPD at HFH, while 2, 500 patients visit the BBH and around 1,000 to 1,500 visit the DHQ.
Meanwhile, young doctors stayed clear of the OPDs and vowed to continue their strike unless the provincial government granted their demands. The YDA further warned that if the government did not listen to their demands, they would boycott inpatient services as well.
In a press release, the YDA’s Rawalpindi chapter reiterated their demands including their opposition to the direct induction policy for doctors planning for specialization. They also asked the government to reduce their working hours as one doctor had duties as long as 80 hours every week.
Further, the YDA demanded the regularisation of ad-hoc medical officers, and an end to victimisation of young doctors across Punjab. The doctors have also been asking for provision of free medicines and laboratory tests at public hospitals and completion of long pending health projects such as the urology hospital, children and women hospital, and emergency building at BBH.
However, in what seems to be a chastening lesson learnt from their last province-wide protest, YDA doctors said that they would continue to tend to patients at the emergency wards and trauma centers.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2016.
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