LAHORE - The Young Doctors Association has announced strike at public sector hospitals across the province from today to press for the demand of withdrawal of central induction policy for PG trainees.

Following clashes with the police outside GOR, the protesting doctors staged an hours long sit-in outside Services Hospital on Tuesday that led to massive traffic jam on Jail Road and adjoining arteries besides hampering service delivery at hospitals.

Normalcy returned to the City roads as the YDA called their off sit-in in the evening after police assurance of releasing the protesters.

As per already announced schedule, doctors from across the province including Lahore gathered outside the Services Hospital at noon from where they marched to the GOR for staging a sit-in. The protesting doctors tried to enter the GOR forcibly that led to scuffle and clashes with riot police. The police first used water cannon and then tear gas to disperse protesting doctors. About half a dozen doctors injured or fainted due to tear gas shelling. They were shifted to the Services Hospital for treatment.

Police also arrested seven protesting doctors outside the GOR. The protesting doctors retreated from the GOR and staged a sit in outside Services Hospital that caused massive traffic jam at Jail Road and adjoining arteries for hours.

Carrying out placard and banners inscribed with demands of service structure, withdrawal of central induction policy for PG trainees and removal of Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Najam Ahmed Shah, the protesting doctors chanted slogans against health bureaucracy.

The YDA leadership vowed to continue protest till acceptance of all demands including setting up burn units at hospitals, implementation of one bed, one patient policy and proper security arrangements at hospitals.

Soon after police action, YDA announced withdrawal of services from all the public sector hospitals across the province. Absence of doctors hampered service delivery at Lahore General Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Jinnah Hospital. The situation was worst at Services Hospital and nearby Punjab Institute of Cardiology.

Reportedly, a 50 year old woman Jannatul Firdous lost her life at Services hospital due to alleged denial of treatment. Husband of the ill-fated woman accused the doctor for death of his wife.

The resident of Shadbagh said that he brought his wife to the hospital on feeling difficulties in breathing. Medical Superintendent Dr Ameerud Din, however, contradicted reports of death of the lady at Emergency of Services Hospital.

Management of Mayo Hospital, however, managed smooth service delivery at Emergency and Indoors of the leading health facility.

Following the announcement of YDA strike, SH&ME Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah suspended summer holidays of all the teaching staff and asked professors, assistant and associate professors to ensure availability at respective departments. He directed all the medical supritendents to ensure smooth working at every department. Similarly, nurses, paramedical staff would not leave shift till arrival of next staff.

The secretary also directed action against the doctors who will stay away from duties.

YDA called off sit-in after police assurance of releasing protesting doctors. The association’s spokesman, Dr Salman Hafeez said that the doctors would not provide services at public sector hospital across the province till acceptance of all demands. He made it clear that YDA would be on strike at Emergency, OPDs and all the wards that would continue for indefinite period.