Doctors close OPDs yet again


The doctors closed almost all the outpatient departments (OPDs) of the city hospitals on Wednesday, demanding revision of pay scales, service structure, and regularization of doctors working on a contractual basis. The members of Young Doctors Association (YDA) at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic) and the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM) protested a few months ago, demanding the Ministry of Health improve their pay and scale and regularize all doctors on contract. Now, when the government has approved their demands and sent a draft to the Finance Division for approval, doctors at PIMS started to protest again. Sources told Pakistan Today that things were on track and there was no need to protest and cause problems for the patients who visited PIMS daily in large numbers. He said, “Doctors have a problem with the government’s decision to regularise only those contractual doctors who are working on vacant seats, while others who are working on secondment or on leave vacancies would not be regularised.” He said this was a reasonable and logical step by the government as doctors on leave vacancies were working temporarily. YDA Polyclinic President Dr Muhammad Ajmal said, “No one is protesting with PIMS as there is no need to protest when things are on the track and we should understand that with the devolution of the Health Ministry, things paused for a while but we should not make it an issue and cause problems for the patients.” Around 300 young doctors are working at PIMS, 150 at Polyclinic and 25 at the NIRM. They had demanded induction of all their colleagues into BPS-18, pay increases from Rs 22, 000 to Rs 70, 000 and regularisation of doctors.PIMS Joint Executive Director Dr Altaf Hussain said that the government had approved all their demands and was working on their demands speedily.
PATIENTS SUFFER: Sitting outside PIMS, Jamila, a 55-year-old woman suffering from gastroenteritis, who only knew Pashto language, said she had come all the way from Bhara Kahu to get treatment. “What is going on here? Where shall we go for treatment?” she asked the people around but could not get a satisfactory reply. “I went inside the hospital building but they told me that no doctor is available,” she said disappointedly. Another patient, Munir Ahmed, said, “We are sick and tired of these strikes in hospitals. It seems that all these doctors are more concerned about money making than saving lives.”