Patients suffer as doctors’ strike enters seventh day


LAHORE: Young doctors and medical staff of government-run hospitals across Punjab observed their seventh day of strike against what they term as the ‘privatisation’ of hospitals under the Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions Act (MTI) 2019.

The Grand Health Alliance (GHA) which consists of young doctors, young consultants, nurses, paramedical staff, allied health professionals and all healthcare associations had called a strike against the ordinance and refused to perform their duties including outdoor, operation theatres, radiological and pathological services in major teaching institutions including Mayo Hospital, Services, Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Lahore General Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Punjab Institute of Cardiology in Lahore, Rawalpindi  and other districts of Punjab.

In Rawalpindi, all three allied hospitals in the city remained closed throughout the week as a result of the ongoing protests called by the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) against the MTI Act.

Poor patients dependent upon public-healthcare service, in the meanwhile, are suffering due to non-operational operation theatres (OTs) in hospitals and are having to bear extra financial burden to seek treatment in private hospitals.

According to the YDA, over 50,000 elective surgeries and around 100,000 diagnostic tests postponed due to the closure of OT’s and central laboratories in all major teaching hospitals in the province.

In the meanwhile, health authorities and hospital administrations have claimed that health services are being provided at OPDs with the help of consultants and administrative doctors yet it has been reported that the absence of OPD services is preventing thousands of new admissions in indoor wards in hospitals.

According to reports, the Punjab government has directed hospital administrations to prepare lists of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff who were obstructing the smooth delivery of healthcare services.