The outpatient departments here at the allied hospitals in town got operational partially on Friday after issuance of a notification by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif according to which the services of doctors serving under the provincial government have been declared essential.
“The OPDs of allied hospitals including Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and District Headquarters Hospitals were opened on Friday though the influx of patients remained low mainly because of the young doctors’ strike in OPDs for about 12 days,” said Principal Rawalpindi Medical College and Incharge Allied Hospitals Professor Dr. Mohammmad Mussadiq Khan while talking to ‘The News’ on Friday.
He added that on Friday, nearly 700 patients were examined at the OPDs of the allied hospitals where emergency departments along with other departments have been working as per routine.
It is important that young doctors have been on strike on the call of Young Doctors Association, Punjab, in outpatient departments of public sector healthcare facilities across province since June 18 demanding revision of their service structure.
To a query, Dr. Mussadiq said that on Friday a number of young doctors attended the patients at the OPDs of the allied hospitals. “The Punjab CM has declared services of doctors serving under provincial government essential after that in case of absence, any doctors can be removed from service,” he explained.
He said that on Friday, over 300 patients were provided treatment at the BBH OPD while almost same is the number of patients facilitated at the HFH OPD. “However, the DHQ Hospital received a little influx of patients at its OPD.” He said that the patients’ influx at the allied hospitals’ OPD was low mainly because of the continued strike of the young doctors.
He said that the YDA has not announce strike in any other department of the hospitals and the young doctors have been serving as per routine in emergency departments, gynaecology departments, indoor patient departments, ICUs and operation theatres as per routine.
He claimed that the OPDs at the allied hospitals would continue to work from now onwards and most probably, the hospitals’ administration would be able to regain OPD patients’ confidence within next two days.
There is no end to miseries of poor patients due to the strike by young doctors in outpatient departments (OPDs) of three teaching hospitals in Rawalpindi.
Talking to ‘The News,’ patients at the Holy Family Hospital (HFH), Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) condemned the strike and said that the tussle between the Punjab government and the Young Doctors Association (YDA) has made the poor suffer.
Muhammad Anwar, who brought his old mother to the District Headquarters Hospital on Friday, said that all patients and their attendants were criticising young doctors after being denied treatment in public sector hospitals. He said: “Doctors are violating ethics of their profession and bringing a bad name to a noble profession. My mother is a heart patient but there is not a single doctor to check her.”
Riaz Ahmed, Mumtaz Begum, Rana Bashir Ahmed, Faryaal, Zafar Ahmed, Zahoor, Muhammad Banaras and several other patients and their relatives criticised doctors for going on strike in public hospitals. They said that they could not afford expensive treatment in private hospitals and clinic. They asked the Punjab government to resolve the crisis at the earliest.
The OPDs of public hospitals are closed since June 18, due to which many patients had to return unattended. The closure of OPDs has increased the load of patients in emergency wards, which affected the quality of treatment to the seriously sick and injured patients. Several incidents of exchange of harsh arguments between doctors and attendants of patients were witnessed in hospitals.
Meanwhile, the YDA office-bearers have vowed to continue their strike till the acceptance of their demand for service structure. They condemned the provincial government for playing in the hands of bureaucracy, backing off from its promises and forcing young doctors to go on strike.
When ‘The News’ contacted District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Assistant Medical Superintendent (AMS) Dr. Aijaz Sohail, he said that all senior doctors had been performing their duties as per routine to control the situation for 12 days. “Despite all measures, patients are still facing lots of problems,” he admitted.