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February 12, 2019

Young doctors not pacified despite CM’s announcement of pay rise

Karachi

February 12, 2019

In order to prevent young doctors from going on strike at the public health facilities in the province from Wednesday onwards, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday announced that the salary package of the government doctors in Sindh would be increased so that it matched with that of the government doctors in the Punjab.

Young doctors as well as other bodies of health professionals in Sindh, including the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), had given a two-day time to the provincial government to accept their demands. The government was warned that if the notification of an increase in the doctors’ salaries and allowances was not issued by Tuesday, the young health professionals would boycott all the health services in the province from Wednesday onwards.

To pacify the young doctors, the CM directed Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah to work out a plan so that the salaries of doctors in Sindh were on a par with the doctors working under the Punjab government.

“Once the exercise regarding calculation of salaries, allowances and their impact on the exchequer is carried out, place it on the next cabinet meeting’s agenda so that it could be discussed and approved,” Murad told the chief secretary.

A couple of weeks earlier, thousands of patients had to suffer for three consecutive days in the entire province as young doctors boycotted out-patient departments (OPDs) at all the tertiary-care hospitals and basic health units, compelling the health department to announce that it had accepted the young doctors’ demands.

The doctors waited a few weeks for the government to issue a notification for an increase in their salaries; however, as the government did not make any announcement in this regard, the young health professionals on Saturday bitterly criticised the health department for going back on its commitment and warned that if their demands were not met within two working days, i.e. till Tuesday evening, they would close down all the OPDs, wards and operation theatres in the entire province from Wednesday.

The CM said that the Punjab government had already carried out such an exercisewhich had been approved by the Punjab cabinet. “Therefore, we need to ensure that our doctors get remunerated on a par with the doctors in the Punjab,” he said to the chief secretary.

Later, the chief secretary passed the chief minister’s directives on to the health department to calculate the pay and allowances of doctors in Sindh, compare them with the doctors of the Punjab and other provinces, and submit a detailed report for the next cabinet meeting.

Doctors not satisfied

Meanwhile, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) rejected the latest announcement by the CM, saying that it revealed that the health department had earlier cheated the young doctors when it told them that a summary had been moved to the CM and the health department would issue a notification regarding an increase in the doctors’ salaries after the CM approved the summary.

“But today we learnt that the CM has asked the chief secretary to calculate the impact of the salary increase and then place it before the Sindh cabinet, which means that no summary was moved to the CM and it was just a ploy to pacify young doctors,” Dr Umer Sultan, YDA Sindh chairman, told media persons on Monday.

He said the YDA had not been contacted by the health department or the Sindh government regarding any new development and vowed to continue with their plans to boycott all the health services at the public hospitals in the province from Wednesday morning onwards if no notification regarding an increase in their salaries was issued by Tuesday evening.

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