After spending 15 days on strike, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) and cardiac surgery staff at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) have given a 48-hour ultimatum to the federal government to fulfil their demands.
Having already suspended services at all the outpatients departments (OPDs), critical areas including emergency, intensive care unit (ICU) and coronary care unit (CCU) are next on the chopping block. Scheduled operations have also been put on hiatus since the strike began.
Doctors said they have sent a formal application to the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and Pims administration, asking them to resolve the issue within 48 hours, after which, the doctors hold them responsible for any casualties that take place during the time services in critical units remain on hold.
On Wednesday, the YDA staged a sit-in outside Pims Executive Director Mehmood Jamal’s office for four hours and demanded the immediate issuance of a final notification for service structure, pay raise and regularisation of doctors on contract.
Talking to the Express Tribune, Pims YDA President Sajid Abbasi said, “We were forced to do this as almost half the month has passed and our issues remain unresolved.”
“Today we staged a sit-in, tomorrow we will go on the streets and block the road and raise our voice against the ignorant and lethargic attitude of the Pims administration and CADD officials,” he said.
A few days back, they were told that the final notification was with Ministry of Law, but now they have been told that it has been sent back again to Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).
“The delay in fulfilling our demands despite knowing the situation at Pims shows the seriousness of the government and its commitment to ensuring basic health services to everyone, especially to poor,” he said.
Talking to The Express Tribune government officials familiar with the case, on condition of anonymity, said the YDA case-file had been misplaced. They were unsure how long it will take to resolve the issue.
The officials further highlighted that according to the law, the current regularisation of doctors on contract by the prime minister under the new service structure is not authentic.
“The prime minister was supposed to pass an act in the National Assembly,” the official said. Instead, these measures were taken after consultation with the cabinet.
“If someone challenges this in court by filing a writ petition, it will undoubtedly create a huge mess,” the official added.
Majority of the things being done under the new service structure violate FPSC rules, such as the regularisation of fourteen medical staffers at the neurosurgery department at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Karachi, who had not completed one year of work by April 30.
A notification was issued on July 27, according to which permanent staff was hired against 13 leave vacancies at Pims; however, according to law, temporary staff is hired to fulfil leave vacancies, the official.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.