KARACHI: The boycott of out-patient departments (OPDs) and operation theatres (OTs) at government hospitals continued for the third consecutive day and patients continued to suffer for want of health services.
The protesting doctors maintained that the boycott will continue till their demands are met. They warned that if their demands were not met, the scope of their protest would be extended.
As the stand-off between the Sindh government and the doctors continues, OPDs and OT services in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College (JPMC), Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, Lyari General Hospital and other government hospitals remain suspended.
No end to patients’ suffering as doctors continue to boycott OPDs in Sindh
Besides, the day-to-day functioning of government hospitals throughout the province has come to a standstill. Patients and their attendants at hospitals pleaded to both, the young doctors and the government, to take notice of their plight. They lamented that doctors are bound to attend to patients and provide treatment but they have added to the sufferings of the patients.
The doctors, however, have maintained that two weeks ago, the Sindh government, accepting their demands, had promised to issue a notification within seven days but this has not been issued even after 15 days. They called upon the government to understand their situation and accept their legitimate demands so that the patients can be tended to.
Meanwhile in Hyderabad, the doctors partially boycotting government hospitals have warned of stepping up their protest with a complete boycott if the provincial government continues to demonstrate indifference to their demands. The warning came from the representatives of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Sindh and Young Doctors Association (YDA) Sindh at a press conference in Hyderabad on Friday on the third consecutive days of their province wide protest.
"We burnt our boats before starting this protest. If the provincial government continues to treat the matter with insouciance, we will resort to stop working even in the emergency wards and for the polio campaigns," threatened PMA Sindh General-Secretary Dr Pir Manzoor Ali. The doctors are already boycotting OPDs, medical wards and OTs.
Ali said a sit-in demonstration outside the Chief Minister House in Karachi is also in consideration. He requested for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to take notice, intervene and resolve the issue in favour of the doctors.
The doctors demand salaries and pensions equal to their counterparts in Punjab, promotions for more than 2,000 doctors to BS-18 to BS-20 posts, regularisation and tangible measures to end widespread corruption in Sindh health department.
Doctors to boycott all out-patient depts in Sindh’s public hospitals again
Dr Ali held the provincial government responsible for the troubles of tens of thousands of the patients who have been affected by the boycott. The PMA condemned the statement of the provincial health minister who reportedly said the protesting doctors are blackmailers. "It seems that the Sindh government is provoking us to take to extreme protests," said Dr Ali.
The PMA has rejected a new round of negotiations with the government, complaining that the assurances given after their boycotts last month have not been fulfilled. They demand issuance of the notifications for salary and promotions as the condition for calling off the protests.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2019.
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