Against privatisation: Paramedics strike at Lady Willingdon disrupts OPD

Laboratory, operation theatre technicians, dispensers take to the streets.

Our Correspondent April 12, 2017
Lady Willingdon Hospital. PHOTO: ONLINE

LAHORE: The outdoor patients department of the Lady Willingdon Hospital was severely hampered on Tuesday as the paramedical staff took to the streets against the proposal to privatise the hospital.

The teaching hospital of King Edward Medical College carries a lot of significance being the only public-sector gynaecological facility in Punjab. A large number of women and children from across the province come to seek medical help to the hospital.

A large number of staffers, including laboratory technicians, operation theatre technicians, dispensers and others, took part in the protest.

The paramedics’ protest badly hurt the operations of the OPDs during peak hours and several women from rural areas had to be sent back without check-up.

Holding placards and banners, the protesters shouted slogans and later organised a sit-in outside the hospital as well. Punjab Paramedical Staff chairman Yousuf Billa led the protest and the sit-in.

The paramedical staff announced they would hold another protest in front of the Charring Cross on Mall Road if the government did not fulfil their demands.

Talking to reporters, Yousuf said besides their anti-privatisation demands, they were demanding legislation over professional allowances, risk allowances and restructuring of all staff from Grade-1 to Grade-16.

“Earlier we marched from the OPDs of all these hospitals as we did not intend to disturb them and staged rallies in front of the entrances of all these hospitals,” he said.

“Most of the paramedics or health professionals are serving on a contractual basis or daily wages for the past five to 20 years,” he claimed. “Their wages have not been increased for many years.”

He appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to look into the matter and order the regularisation of their services.

The protesters also threatened to take their demonstrations from the district to a provincial level and later expanding it countrywide by involving all the branches of paramedical associations if their demands were not met timely.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2017.


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