ISLAMABAD - Hundreds of patients visiting Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic) on Monday suffered as the paramedic staffers of the hospital closed Outdoor Patient Department in protest against the government.

The paramedics of other government hospitals including Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicines (NIRM) also joined the protest at polyclinic hospital causing miserable situation for patients.

Paramedics of the capital hospitals were demanding improved facilities and services structure following the model implemented in the provinces, specifically in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

The protesting male and female nurses at the second largest public sector hospital of the city closed the main OPD at 8am and started protest against the government for not paying attention to their demands.

It was the third time in last 7 days that paramedic staffers of the Polyclinic hospital staged protest and intensified it to shutting down the main OPD.

Male and female nursing staff was carrying placards with statements mentioning their service problems and discrimination despite serving the hospital.

The protesting paramedic staff of all hospitals also vowed to take their protest to the D-Chowk and to the Parliament if the sitting government doesn’t assure fulfilling their demands before the budget.

“We are one and we want justice,” scores of nurses in their uniform sitting on the floor chanted slogans.

The nurses on protest also said that sitting Executive Director Dr Shahid Hanif had also failed in resolving their long-standing issues.

“We will stage sit in at D-Chowk, if our right is denied,” they said.

General Secretary Polyclinic Hospital Nursing Association Yaqoob Bashir said that demands of paramedic staff have been dumped in government files. He said that a nurse hired in scale 16 retired in the same grade due to bureaucratic hurdles.

He also said that stipend of nursing students is Rs20,000 in provinces while in the centre, they are taking only Rs6,000.

He said that nursing staff gets infection in hospital, but there is no health allowance for them, while the workload has also immensely increased but the posts are not being filled by the government since long.

He also said that the paramedics have visited the ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and met top officials number of time but they have not moved an inch forward in ending the problems of the paramedics.

The Nursing Association presented demanded to give timescale promotions to the staff with pending cases as per Estacode rules.

They also stressed to fulfill the acute shortage of nurses to decrease the workload as one nurse in its 12 hours duty has to cover 70 patients on the average.

They also said that stipend of general nursing diploma students should be increased to minimum Rs40,000 per month equivalent to KP and Punjab provinces. The mess and kit allowance should be also increased to Rs11,000 per month, they demanded.

Protestors also demanded that the health risk allowance should be raised equal to the basic pay scale.

Later on the protestors met parliamentary secretary for NHS  Nausheen Hamid and called off the protest for three days on taking assurance that federal minister for NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza will consider their problems.

Meanwhile, a large number of patients suffered as the main OPD remained closed and patients had to return back without availing healthcare.