Over 65 doctors dismissed in Lahore as YDA strike enters sixth day

  • Patients suffer after being forced to return home or visit private health facilities

LAHORE – The Punjab government on Sunday fired 66 young doctors for not attending the patients, also warning the YDA members of further strict action if they continue to boycott hospitals.

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Young doctors continued its strike at Out Patients Departments (OPDs) and indoor wards of hospitals for the sixth day.

They demand the health secretary, Najam Ahmad Shah, be removed from his position and the Centralised Induction Policy, introduced by him, be revoked. They believe that since the health secretary is an engineer he would not be able to relate to or understand issues of the health department.

According to the protesting doctors, Central Induction Policy discriminates between the ones who have graduated from government institutes and those who have received their education from private ones. Since majority of the doctors have graduated from private medical colleges, they want the policy to be revoked and equal system be set for all.

Like the last five days, the ailing humanity was the ultimate sufferer amid the YDA strike, which left no option open for them except returning home or going to private health facilities for treatment.

The protesters also manhandled a woman reporter and cameraman of a private TV channel at OPD of Jinnah Hospital for reporting the strike.

Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah constituted a two-member committee consisting Prof Assad Aslam Khan and Prof Asghar Naqi from the King Edward Medical University (KEMU)/Mayo Hospital to investigate the incident. The committee will submit its report to the secretary within three days.

As the YDA strike entered its sixth day on Sunday, the health department announced it has suspended 66 doctors from their duties. The department has also decided to recruit medical officers (MOs) and women medical officers (WMOs) through walk-in interviews.

Earlier, Minister for Specialized Healthcare Salman Rafiq held a meeting with the heads of government hospitals, where he sought a list of the doctors absent from duties. The minister had ordered dismissal orders for the house officers who did not report to work by 8pm on August 2. However, he appreciated the medics who were on duty disregarding the strike.

Mayo Hospital, the only fully functional health facility in Lahore, has been attracting a big number of patients amid the doctors’ strike.

Unlike previous days, situation improved at the Lahore General Hospital where faculty and senior doctors checked around 3,000 patients at the OPD.

Services Hospital, PIC and Jinnah Hospital were worst hit by the strike.

The Jinnah Hospital administration however managed to restore services at OPD. Fearing action, more than 25 protesting doctors resumed duty at OPD, enabling the faculty and senior doctors to treat patients. Medical Superintendent Dr Sohail Saqlain said that seven protesting doctors were terminated on Friday and another 15 on Saturday.

The process of terminating absent doctors would continue, he added.

and their attendants have held the government responsible for the situation. They are urging the government to end the issue once and for all by giving exemplary punishment to habitual protesters.

The YDA has announced that it will continue its strike till acceptance of demands, such as withdrawal of central induction policy for PG trainees, removal of Najam Ahmed Shah as secretary of SH&ME, provision of security at hospitals and setting up burn units.