The provincial government removed on Thursday Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s executive directors Dr Seemin Jamali and Dr Tasneem Ahsan from their posts, giving into the demand of doctors who had been on strike for three days.
For now, the charge of the hospital’s executive director has been given to Karachi’s administrator, Hashim Raza Zaidi. The government will appoint someone to the post within 15 days.
The removal of both directors took place two days after Jinnah hospital’s doctors association had gone on strike, demanding the medical institution be handed over to the provincial government as health had been devolved as a part of the 18th Amendment. The doctors claimed they were facing numerous problems as the hospital’s directors preferred to stay with the federal government instead. The protesting doctors claimed that since the hospital wasn’t under the control of the provincial government, their salaries weren’t being increased and appointing new doctors had also become a challenge.
The strike led to a series of meetings between the protesting doctors and government officials at the Chief Minister House. The chief secretary Ijaz Chaudhry, health secretary Suresh Kumar, Karachi administrator Hashim Raza Zaidi and office bearers of the doctors association attended the meetings. After three hours of debate and discussion, the government decided to send the executive directors packing.
According to the government’s notification, Dr Ahsan has now been appointed as in-charge of medial unit 6. Dr Jamali has been asked to step down from the post of the head of the accident and emergency centre as well.
After the health department accepted its demands, Jinnah hospital’s doctors association called off its strike.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Javaid Jamali, who heads the association said, “The doctors will continue their jobs and the out-patient department would be open as per routine on Friday (today). The association will also observe a Youm-e-Tashkaur.”
Replying to a question about the devolution, the doctor said the government has assured the protesters that the issue will be raised on the floor of the assembly and the problem would be resolved soon.
While in the midst of calls for protests and violence, the patients admitted at the hospital suffered - three patients died at the hospital in past two days.
Moreover, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said that since the day the Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) was announced, “some people have been hell-bent on causing trouble.”
The provincial government has also formed a committee to probe into the incident in which law enforcement agencies had allegedly beaten up Jinnah hospital’s protesting doctors on Tuesday.
Subhan Memon, the chairperson of the Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) will head the committee which will submit a report within a week. Siddique Memon, the sports secretary, and one representatives of the doctor’s association nominated by health secretary, will also be a part of the committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.
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