LAHORE - Young doctors stayed away from Emergency, Out Patient Departments (OPDs) and wards of public sector hospitals across the province on Wednesday, multiplying miseries of the ailing humanity. 

The YDA has announced continuing strike till acceptance of all demands.

Though management of number of hospitals kept all the departments open with the help of faculty members and seniors, the healthcare providers were too less to cater the need of huge number of patients.

Absence of young doctors hampered service delivery at Emergency, OPDs and Indoors besides causing cancellation of scheduled surgeries at teaching hospitals across the province.

Following clashes with riot police outside GOR on Tuesday, YDA had given call of strike at hospitals throughout the province for Wednesday to press for the demand of withdrawal of central induction policy for PG trainees, removal of Secretary Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Najam Ahmed Shah, setting up burn units at hospitals, implementation of one bed, one patient policy and proper security arrangements at hospitals.

Following announcement of strike by YDA, Secretary SH&ME suspended summer vacations 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. He directed the MSs to take action against doctors staying away from duties.

With the exception of Mayo Hospital where all departments were functional due to presence of young doctors, all other teaching hospitals were working partially to the level of Emergency and OPDs alone. Even at these hospitals, the doctors were too less to cater the need of huge number of patients. The situation was worse at Indoors and Operation Theatres where all scheduled surgeries were cancelled.

Mayo Hospital, the only fully functional health facility in Lahore, attracted huge number of patients. Extra ordinary rush of patients hampered smooth service delivery at the biggest hospital in the province.

The situation was worst at Services Hospital, Punjab Institute of Cardiology and Jinnah Hospital. Improper arrangements at Services Hospital caused the SH&ME Department to remove Dr Hamid Butt from the office of Principal Services Institute of Medical Sciences. Prof Ayyaz Mahmood has been given the additional charge of the office till appointment of SIMS Principal.

The SH&ME secretary has constituted committees to probe reports of deaths at three teaching hospitals in Lahore. The department has given warning to the doctors to resume duties till the evening to avoid disciplinary proceedings. The department also evaluated the option of hiring the services of retired consultants on contract to overcome shortage of doctors.

Jinnah Hospital MS Dr Sohail Saqlain has filed an application with Garden Town Police Station for registration of FIR against doctors for creating hurdles in treatment of patients at Emergency and OPD and threatening administrative doctors and the SH&ME secretary.

SH&ME Minister Kh Salman Rafiq said that MSs of teaching hospitals have been directed to start proceedings against absent doctors. SH&ME Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah said that doors were open for negotiation with protesting doctors. He added that the department was always ready for accepting legitimate demands.

IQTIDAR GILANI