LAHORE: The Young Doctor Association (YDA) called off its strike with immediate effect on Thursday and directed all junior doctors to join their duties at hospitals. The doctors had shut down outpatient departments at all major hospitals two days ago after the anti-corruption authorities’ raid to arrest one of the YDA office-bearers.
According to YDA insiders, the strike was called off after a meeting with the anti-corruption department director-general, who assured the doctors of his cooperation.
They added the decision to restore the OPDs at all hospitals was taken on Wednesday night after a meeting with health officials. But the YDA announced ending its strike immediately in the wake of the latest bombing in Lahore and the meeting with anti-corruption officials.
Another source, however, said the decision was taken after Wednesday’s incident when a patient died at the Services Hospital’s emergency ward, after he was refused treatment. The YDA was divided into two groups and the new group wanted to open the emergency department at any cost, he added.
“If YDA officials are involved in any type of corruption, why are we supporting them?” asked the doctor, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Punjab Health Department also issued a statement, saying during their meeting with anti-corruption chief, the YDA representatives tendered an apology for the misbehaviour during Tuesday’s raid.
They requested the anti-corruption director to forward a proper application to the health department for the arrest of the corrupt elements within the YDA.
In his statement, YDA President Prof Ajmal Hassan Naqvi said the doctors were still firm on their demands and would continue their strike. He refuted the ‘claim’ the doctors had offered an apology to the anti-corruption chief, saying the YDA representative could not even meet the official.
In a statement, Anti-Corruption DG Brig (retd) Mazhar Ali Ranjha said the department would arrest people without any discrimination.
“The junior doctors are our assets but we will not tolerate any person involved in corruption,” he was quoted as saying. “We will follow all rules of law while initiating investigation against Dr Atif and other doctors who are involved in corruption.”
Meanwhile, YDA leader Dr Khuram Shehzad told APP that the association decided to call off their strike across the province in the larger interest of patients in the wake of the Defence blast.
He added the YDA would decide its further line of action after some days.
Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique welcomed the decision of the YDA and vowed to settle all the issues through negotiation.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2017.
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