PIMS separation from SZABMU: Protesters warn complete shutdown if bill not passed

Unions of other hospitals join protest held near emergency ward

Photo: Mudassar Raja/Asma Ghani October 22, 2017
Members of PIMS staff protest at the hospital. PHOTO: MUDASSAR RAJA/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The protesting employees of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Saturday announced that if the amendment bill that seeks the hospital’s separation from medical university is not cleared by the cabinet in its next meeting, all healthcare services will be shut down on Wednesday.

The medical and non-medical employees of the hospital have been protesting since October 2 and boycotted their duties for over two weeks, demanding a separation of the hospital from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU). Later, this week the OPD and laboratories services began functioning partially after keeping it closed for two weeks. Patients were registered for check-ups and lab tests after 11am.

Still the services are being affected as employees have been protesting at the premises holding rallies and sit-ins making speeches and raising slogans on loudspeakers where  even blowing horns is prohibited.

On Saturday too they held a huge gathering inside the hospital near emergency area wherein representatives of trade unions, other hospitals and political parties participated and assured their participation and support for the cause.

They announced that on Monday and Tuesday they will protest from 11am to onwards meaning that the OPDs will remain shut after 11am.

Addressing the protesters Dr. Asfandyar Khan said they have always believed the government pledges but they never kept their words and despite the lapse of three years the bill is still pending. This time, he said, they will not end their protest until the bill sails through parliament.

The Cabinet that is expected to meet on Tuesday does not clear the bill to be tabled in the National Assembly they will completely close the healthcare services except emergency services from Wednesday, he said.

MNA Sahibzada Tariqullah of JI said Pims not only caters to the healthcare needs of the twin cities but from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa also large number of patients come to the hospitals. But now they are not coming due to strikes and protests, he added. I will raise this issue in the National Assembly and if the bill is not passed on November 2, the day session will commences we will also sit outside the parliament along with the Pims employees, he said.

The demands of the protesters are genuine as after serving years they have been told that they are no more government employees and they have no civil servant rights after the upgradation of the hospital into a university, the protesters said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2017.


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