Punjab govt, doctors fail to hammer out compromise


LAHORE – The Punjab government failed to convince the young doctors to withdraw their strike and road blockades near the hospitals and medical colleges on Wednesday.
A high-level meeting headed by the Senior Adviser to Chief Minister Sardar Zulfiqar Khoosa was called by the Punjab government at 90 Shahrah-e-Qaid-e-Azam to convince young doctors and medical associations to end their strike.
Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Afzal Farooqui, Allama Iqbal Medical College Principal Javiad Akram, Nishtar Medical College Multan Principal Laeeq Saddiqui, Services Institute of Medical Sciences Principal Faisal Masood, King Edward Medical University Principal Asas Ashraf, Post Graduate Medical Institute Principal Tariq Salah-u-din, Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Zahid Perwaiz, Pakistan Medical Association office bearers Ashraf Nizami, Dr Izhar Chaudhry, Dr Salman Kazmi, Dr Usman Ayub, Dr Rana Suhail and other Young Doctors Association (YDA) members were present.
Khosa assured the participants that the Punjab government will increase doctors’ salaries in the coming annual budget. He said the Punjab government was not in a position to accept their demands because of some unfortunate problems. Punjab Parliamentary Health Secretary Dr Saeed Elahi said that the Punjab government wanted a sufficient increase in doctors’ salaries and promised to raise the issue in the National Assembly so that the federal government could be able to fix US$500 as a doctor’s joining date salary.
Punjab Health Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad said it was difficult to collectively raise salaries of more than 21,000 doctors. He said the Health Department was facing a financial crisis due to the recent floods and more than Rs35 billion was spend in the Southern Punjab. Young doctors chalk out new strategy: Punjab YDA has planned a new strategy to protest by blocking almost all major roads of Lahore such that Mayo Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram hospital’s doctors would block The Mall, Lahore Services Hospital’s doctors block the Jail road, Children Hospital and Lahore General Hospital’s doctors block the Freozpur Road and Jinnah Hospital’s doctors block the Canal Road.
The Punjab government and Lahore traffic police have not yet ensured any substitute traffic plan for the citizens. Lahore Services Hospital’s YDA president Dr Usman Ayub said his association was in contact with young doctors all over the province and a large number of doctors were expected to participate in the strike. He said the young doctors had decided to block the roads to high light their demands in a better manner.