INDECISION – Paying the doctors who shunned duty

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LAHORE – The Health Department and the hospitals’ administrations have yet to decide if they should pay salaries to the young doctors for the period they were on strike. While Mayo Hospital withheld the doctors’ last month salaries, Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) and Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) not only paid salaries to medical officers, registrar and senior registrar but also to house officers and post-graduate trainee doctors.
PUZZLED: The Health Department has not yet finalised a policy for the protesting doctors’ salaries for a period they chose to protest and stayed away from work. The hospital management too is confused about whether or not to disburse salaries to the agitating doctors who did not even submit leave applications for the days they remained absent.
The Punjab Health Department, during the strike by young doctors, not only terminated their services but also ordered teaching hospitals to appoint new doctors. After the patch-up between the government and doctors, the termination orders were withdrawn but the matters of salaries has not been settled and some hospital MS are awaiting instructions from the Health Department.
AWAITING INSTRUCTIONS: Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Zahid Pervaiz told Pakistan Today that they did not pay salaries to doctors because they have not received a clear-cut direction from the Health Department. He said that hospital administration had refused to pay 22 doctors their salaries for being absent from their duties. Pakistan Medical Association Lahore General Secretary Dr Izhar said that technically doctors on strike should not be paid but the Punjab chief minister had the authority to bend the rules.
‘FACILITATED’: Interestingly, some hospitals quietly allowed doctors on strike to fill their attendance register and also paid them their salaries of previous month. AIMC and Jinnah Hospital sources disclosed that about 600 to 700 doctors refused to perform duty during the strike but they not only received their salaries but were also helped to fill in their attendance.
AIMC Principal Prof Dr Javaid Akram said that his hospital had not received any instructions from the Health Department on this issue, but it was difficult to withhold doctors’ pays.