Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani finally took notice of the repeated protests by nurses in several districts.
On Wednesday, when nurses in Multan decided to walk from Nishtar Hospital to the prime minister’s camp and completely blocked the area, Gilani issued a statement, assuring them that their concerns will be addressed.
Gilani asked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to look into the matter and resolve it “on a priority basis”. The chief minister, in turn, issued instructions to Health department executives to address the issue.
Scores of nurses from government hospitals in southern Punjab had been rallying for a revision of pay scales in different parts of the southern Punjab for more than two weeks.
“We have been protesting every day for the past week but no one cared. The only way anyone notices is if you protest right infront of them. That is why we decided to protest outside the prime minister’s camp,” said a nurse, Asma Mubasshar.
Yesterday nurses all over the province boycotted medical wards in hospitals throughout Punjab.
“Earlier we were providing cover duties in emergency wards, intensive care units, cardiology centres and dialysis centres but we stopped doing that yesterday,” she said, adding “I know patients are suffering.
That is why we want the government to resolve this as soon as possible. They didn’t notice until we took drastic measures,” she added.
“Thousands of patients have been suffering because of this and the entire medical system is going to be paralyzed,” said a doctor at Nishtar Hospital, Dr Khurram Zaman.
Nurses in Multan have announced their intention to continue their protest against the provincial government for not increasing their salaries. Today executive district officer (EDO) Health Dr Inamul Haq, on the special instructions of health executives, and secretary health in Lahore reached the spot to negotiate with Kausar Khan serving as assistant commissioner in Multan.
So far the negotiations have not proven fruitful as nurses continue to demand that the government immediately issue notification for their raise and emergency and high risk allowances in their pay packages.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.
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