Junior doctors are harassing and intimidating professors who did not support them during the strike by the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab at public hospitals, according to a Special Branch report.
The report was written by officers deployed to keep an eye on the YDA during the strike. It has been sent to the capital city police officer, the district coordination officer, the Home Department and the Health Department.
“The young doctors are targeting professors who did not support them during their strike and they want to remove them from the hospitals,” states the report. They were also pushing for the dismissal of ad hoc doctors recruited during the strike. “Senior doctors feel threatened,” it states.
However, the report recommends no security or protection measures for professors and concedes that no professors have made formal complaints about harassment or intimidation.
The report recommends disciplinary action against the doctors via the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. It states that most of the YDA members are post-graduate trainees aiming to become Fellows of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS). It suggests that the Health Department contact supervisors of postgraduate trainees and get them to warn the doctors that they would write to the CPS to cancel their supervision, meaning they would not be able to sit the FCPS Part II exams.
“The High Court may also be apprised of the threatening activities of the young doctors,” it states.
The report cites one incident in particular. “On August 10, 2012, 60 to 70 young doctors led by Dr Hamid Butt, the YDA Punjab president, protested for two hours in front of the office of the medical superintendent of Services Hospital. They trespassed on the office of Services Institute of Medical Sciences Principal Dr Faisal Masud, threatened him and chanted slogans against him. They alleged that the young doctors were arrested during the strike on the instigation of Dr Faisal Masud. The young doctors also shut Gate No 4 near the principal’s office and did not let him enter the hospital. Earlier, the young doctors threatened and abused a lady professor of the Pathology Department. When the Academic Council of the hospital convened a meeting to discuss the threats, the young doctors didn’t allow them to hold the meeting and abused the professors.”
YDA Punjab senior member Dr Khuzema Arslan Bokhari rejected the report. “First, they should define what threatening means to them. They feel threatened even when young doctors or Hamid Butt walk around the hospital. They feel threatened when we hold peaceful protests. It is we who are threatened by seniors. In some cases professors have withdrawn from the supervision of young doctors two months before the completion of their training. We just protested peacefully and asked for the termination of ad hoc doctors because they were hired in violation of merit and policy,” he said.
Dr Bokhari said that the YDA condemned all forms of violence and its constitution directed members not to indulge in violence. “If there is any incident where young doctors misbehaved with any doctors or got physical, we condemn it. This report doesn’t mean anything,” he said.
A SIMS professor said the young doctors had been sending derogatory text messages to senior doctors. “They haven’t thrashed any professor so far but they have misbehaved. They have certainly become more aggressive after their strike,” he added.
A senior faculty member at Lahore General Hospital said there hadn’t been any violence against any seniors at the hospital. “As far as ad hoc doctors are concerned, yes they (the YDA) are against them and are pressing the administration to fire them,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.