Doctors’ service structure: Court reminds doctors strike is a no-no

LHC told that govt and YDA have reached agreement on 42 of 45 issues.


Our Correspondent September 03, 2012

LAHORE:


The Lahore High Court on Monday again warned the Young Doctors Association (YDA) against planning a strike to press for revisions to the service structure for doctors employed by the government.


Justice Ijazul Ahsan was hearing a petition filed several months ago seeking to stop the YDA strike earlier this year. Counsel for the petitioners, the provincial government and doctors appeared before the court on Monday.

Additional Advocate General Faisal Zaman, representing the Punjab government, briefed the judge on the status of talks between the YDA and the government.

He said that they had reached agreement on 42 of 45 issues and was hopeful that the three remaining points would be addressed in the next few days.

However, he said that the government could not agree to the doctors’ demand for a one-step promotion, as this would be discriminatory towards doctors serving in other provinces.

Zaman said that the Punjab government wanted a permanent solution to the doctors’ problems, over which they have gone on strike on multiple occasions over the last two years.

General Cadre Doctor’s Association President Dr Masood Sheikh said that the government had agreed to the demands of general cadre doctors during recent talks, but the finalisation of the agreement had been linked to agreement between the government and other doctors’ groups such as the YDA.

He said that there were 14,000 general cadre doctors in the Punjab. He said that there should be no delay in finalising the new service structure.

Dr Sheikh said that it had been agreed in principle that senior doctors should be promoted first.

General cadre doctors would be promoted to grades 19 and 20 provided they had served at least 12 years in grade 17 and 15 years in grade 18. Promotion to grade 18 will be after five years of service, subject to the availability of seats.

Petitioners’ counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique said that the YDA had recently briefed the press about its plan to start a protest campaign from September 5 (Wednesday), which amounted to contempt of court.

He said that the doctors had criticised the judiciary in their press briefing.

The court directed the YDA not to go on strike and sought a report of the minutes of the meetings between government functionaries and doctors for September 10.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.

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