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National

March 8, 2018

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Paramedics observe strike across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

PESHAWAR: The paramedics on Wednesday observed strike and suspended services in most of the public sector hospitals of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and took out protest demonstrations against health policies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Paramedics Association had given the strike call. Paramedics' leaders from all over the province gathered at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where their provincial leader Syed Roedar Shah and other leadership received them and then held a meeting before taking out a protest demonstration.

The paramedics want implementation of their service structure, promotions, registration of their limited private practice, appointment of paramedics in the medical faculty, etc. The protesting health workers said that before going on strike, they had given enough time to the government to solve their problems, saying that suspension of services was their last option with them.

The paramedics boycotted their duties and asked other health workers to support them in the protest. In LRH, where the paramedics provincial leadership is based, they succeeded in suspension of services as health technicians from all the departments of the hospital remained absent.

The LRH administration had issued a notice a day earlier and directed all the hospital employees to ensure presence at respective departments as they would provide emergency surgical procedures in emergency department, gynaecology labour rooms, operation theatres, Cath Lab, etc. However, the protesting workers didn't care of these directives and all of them boycotted services.

According to surgeons, some of the surgical procedures were undertaken but others were postponed for lack of technicians and support staff. There were also reports that some of the angry paramedics threatened to forcibly stop the doctors in the Cath Lab where the cardiologists, despite absence of six technicians, continued their work. The LRH administration had to provide them security but even then some of the procedures were cancelled due to lack of staff.

The trainee doctors worked in place of technicians and provided services to their seniors in the Cath lab and enabled them to conduct some highly needed procedures. The Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) also ?suffered due to paramedics' strike but some of the procedures were done, though patients faced problems in the OPDs and other departments. The Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) continued its services as per routine.

There was complete strike in the Mardan Medical Complex (HMC) where the doctors remained absent from OPDs, though it wasn't their strike. The paramedics later held a protest demonstration outside the provincial assembly secretariat and chanted slogans against the PTI-led government for causing a serious damage to the health sector in KP.

They particularly flayed Dr Nausherwan Burki, the architect of health reforms in KP and cousin of PTI chief Imran Khan, and alleged that he had imposed martial law in the hospital by denying basic rights to the health workers.

The health workers alleged that Dr Nausherwan Burki had caused an irreparable loss to the health sector in the province, saying his policies had created unrest among the health workers.

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