LAHORE – Determined to put to an end what it called black mailing of Young Doctors Association once for all, the Punjab government continued to strengthen makeshift arrangements to restore normalcy at the public sector hospitals across the province.

Three more children died without medical treatment at Services Hospitals. Parents and relative of Ehtasham staged a demonstration in the health to protest against lack of medical services.

The Punjab Health Department has given joining to 200 Medical Officers recruited through Punjab Public Service Commission besides putting services of 72 Social Welfare Department doctors on the disposal of teaching hospitals. In addition, the government has issued call letters to 200 female medical graduates who failed to pass the PPSC examination. Teaching hospitals are also interviewing interested doctors to overcome shortage of healthcare providers in the wake of ongoing medics strike.

The Punjab government has released 24 out of 33 arrested doctors after getting assurance that they would not create law and order situation and provide healthcare facilities as per normal routine, causing a serious blow to ongoing medics strike.

The Punjab government has also started issuing final notices to thousands of protesting doctors in the province with the warning to return to duty within 24 hours to avoid termination from service. Medical Superintendents at tertiary care, DHQ and THQ hospitals have issued notices to absent doctors and warned them of removal from service if they failed to join the duty within 24 hours.

Consultants at Punjab Institute of Cardiology are also divided over the issue of withdrawing services at the health facility to protest against arrest of doctors. Division among senior doctors, withdrawal of strike call from paramedics and nurses and government’s plan to send doctors to PIC has improved chances of normal working at the health facility on Wednesday. 

To give breathing space to the suffering humanity, the government has also decided to establish medical camps at hospitals in addition to already available services.

As the young doctors stayed away from the hospitals to protest against arrest of their leadership, the government successfully utilized available resources on the second consecutive day on Tuesday to restore normalcy at hospitals to a greater extent.

Doctors from Army, Social Security and those working on contract and ad hoc basis assisted senior doctors and consultants to manage affairs at OPDs and Emergency amid elaborate security arrangements.

Relatives of young doctors have also jumped in the scene to support protesters. Dozens of people, parents and children of protesters, staged a demonstration in Liberty Chowk to protest against arrest of young doctors and in support their demands. They urged the government to immediately release arrested doctors and accept their demand of revised service structure.  YDA Punjab has announced to continue strike at hospitals till release of all arrested doctors. YDA has shown willingness to return to duty at Emergency on the release of all arrested doctors. It, however, made it clear that OPDs would not be opened till acceptance of legitimate demands of young doctors.

According to the statistics released by the Health Department regarding working at various teaching hospitals of the province, 19571 patients were treated in the outdoor wards on July 03 while 10046 patients visited emergency wards for medical assistance. The alternative arrangements made by the government after the strike of young doctors have yielded results and the situation has started normalizing.

According to details, 2791 patients were provided medical treatment in the outdoor ward of Mayo Hospital. 960 in Jinnah Hospital, 987 in Services Hospital, 1465 in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 1313 in Lahore General Hospital, 1209 in Children Hospital Lahore, 524 in PIC, 1484 in Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology, 1820 in outdoor of Nishtar Hospital Multan, 3296 in Bahawal Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur, 782 in Institute of Cardiology Multan, 1316 in Sheikh Zayed Hospital Rahim Yar Khan and 1619 in outdoors of Rawalpindi Medical College hospitals. Meanwhile, medical facilities were extended to a total of 10046 patients in emergency ward of the abovementioned teaching hospitals besides 477 operations were also conducted. 291 women medical officers selected by Public Service Commission have given joining report out of which 70 have reported at Mayo Hospital, 48 at Jinnah Hospital, 28 at Services Hospital, 18 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 13 at LGH, seven at Children Hospital, 14 at PIC, five at Punjab Medical College Faisalabad, 46 at Nishtar Hospital Multan, 17 at Bahawal Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur and 29 at Rawalpindi Medical College hospitals. Moreover, the striking young doctors have also started returning and so far 171 have assumed their responsibilities in various hospitals.

Doctors of Southern Punjab have announced their disassociation with the strike of young doctors in the province. About 90 percent young doctors have returned to their duties in Nishtar Hospital Multan while doctors are engaged in provision of medical facilities to the patients in government hospitals in Bahawalpur as well.