The Health Department sacked Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab President Dr Javaid Aheer as well as four YDA members serving in Children’s Hospital, as young doctors continued to boycott services at outpatient departments in public hospitals in the city on Saturday.
The services of Dr Aheer, a medical officer at Jinnah Hospital, were terminated under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act for absence from duty. YDA Media Secretary Dr Mudassir Razzaq Khan said Dr Aheer hadn’t received a letter for personal hearing, which was a requirement before a government employee could be sacked under the PEEDA Act.
The services of the four doctors at Children’s Hospital were terminated after an initial inquiry conducted by the Health Department found them guilty of beating up OPD employees who refused to join the strike on Thursday, said a departmental spokesman. The doctors are ad hoc medical officers Dr Shadab Masood and Dr Ahmed Zeeshan and ad hoc senior registrars Dr Zeeshan Khan and Dr Sikandar. They were asked to immediately report to the Health Department.
“The Health Department will continue taking action against those who create problems in the provision of health services,” said the spokesman.
The YDA saw the sanctions differently. “Our victimisation is continuing on the pretext of the Gujranwala incident. The bureaucracy has planned everything in advance to get revenge from the YDA,” said an office bearer of the association, referring to violence involving doctors at the Gujranwala district headquarters hospital earlier this month.
Earlier on Saturday, young doctors joined hands with patients at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and protested against the administration. The patients demanded that they be provided free medicines, which they had not been getting for several weeks. The protest continued for around an hour, after which the PIC administration purchased medicines and gave them to the patients.
YDA members maintained their camps outside the OPDs at public hospitals on Saturday. Dr Khan, the YDA media secretary, said they were examining patients in tents as protest for their alleged victimisation by the bureaucracy.
A Health Department official said that measures were in place to ensure there was no disruption to medical services at public hospitals and things were running smoothly at outpatient departments on the fourth day of the YDA protest.
“Medical superintendents have been asked to ensure patients don’t face any problems in getting treatment at OPDs. Senior doctors have been placed on duty at the OPDs so that things run smoothly. Police have been deputed at hospitals so that the young doctors don’t threaten seniors or misbehave with them,” he said, adding that the YDA had “lost moral authority in the community of doctors”.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2013.