LAHORE: A much-awaited demand of thousands of young doctors has been fulfilled as three major hospitals of the provincial capital reduced duty hours from 36 hours to just eight.
It was the year’s long pending issue and a main cause for agitation and protests of doctors at public sector hospitals. CEO Mayo Hospital Dr Asad Aslam, while talking to The Express Tribune, said people had now gotten used to the routine confrontation between doctors and attendants. “Now, we cut the root cause of this lingering issue,” he added.
He further said everybody understood that the influx of patients at public sector hospital forced doctors to see hundreds of patients at the same time. “How it is possible for a doctor, who is lacking energy and falling asleep on duty, to continue performing willingly?” he asked.
He said the matter had been pending for a year and it was high time that things got resolved. The CEO added that those who were willingly performing longer hours had been permitted to do so.
Dr Salman Kazmi a doctor at Mayo, dedicated the notification to fix duty hours at public teaching hospitals to two doctors who died last Eid while driving home after long calls.
“However, the decision was only accepted by three hospitals, I wish all 23 teaching hospitals of the province accept this change,” he said.
“Believe me, the doctors are performing duties in inhumane conditions.
How it is possible for one to continue his/ her or duty for 36 hours and perform well,” he asked.
Dr Kazmi pointed to that as one of the reasons doctors were seen sleeping at emergency wards and not tending to patients to the best of their abilities.
At the same time, doctors returning home late at night were vulnerable to sexual harassment or accidents.
“I decided to go to court after the sad demise of two young doctors who died in a road accident. Thank God the administration of the hospital has taken these steps, which will benefit the public healthcare sector of Punjab.
When contacted, the administrations of other hospitals, such as Jinnah, said they were also considering issuing notifications and hoped the new timings would be implemented within two or three days.
Last month, the Young Doctors Association boycotted duties for days on end. Disgruntled junior doctors warned of shutting down emergency wards of all public hospitals around Punjab as the deadlock between them and the government had intensified.
“Our strike has entered its 10th day, but no government official is interested in coming to the negotiating table,” YDA Jinnah Hospital General Secretary Dr Asad Ali said at the time.
Replying to a question, Dr Asad stressed patients were dying at hospitals and the government was not interested in providing better health facilities to the poor people of Punjab, “Under the influence of IMF and World Bank, they are snatching already available health facilities from common folks,” he added.
The general secretary further stated that after closing emergency wards, OPDs, indoor and other departments, the YDA will consider establishing makeshift hospitals outside medical facilities. “This is to record our protest and take care of the patients.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2017.