LAHORE – Terming strike and agitation useless and uncalled for, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq has said that negotiation was the only way to resolve the issue of service structure and other problems of medical community.

Speaking at TheNation Forum, he said the government was in contact with representative bodies of doctors and a practicable plan would soon be devised. General Cadre Doctors Association (GCDA) President Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh, General Secretary Dr Rana Rafiq, Joint Secretary Dr Arif Iftikhar and Dr Badar also spoke on the occasion.

Rafiq said the government was making sincere efforts and taking positive steps to end the present deadlock. He said the government was evaluating demands of doctors and most of them had already been accepted. He said promotion of senior doctors was the major issue.

He said diploma holder doctors would be given two increments and those with fellowship, would get four additional increments while district hospitals would be attached with teaching hospital to improve patient care. He said all seats in different grades would be re-affixed with a new formula, doctors could move to secondary and tertiary care hospitals after two-year service at primary healthcare centres.

Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh said 14,000 general cadre doctors were backbone of health delivery system. He said that some demands of the GCDA, including dilation of formula to an extent, reaffixing all seat of general cadre in different grades, updating seniority list after removing the names of 612 who moved from general to specialist and teaching cadre and keeping the window open for cadre change with 50 per cent for specialist and 25 per cent teaching cadre, had principally been agreed.

He said doctors with clinical and administrative diplomas should be named as specialist officer and administrative officer. “The issue of general cadre doctors should not be linked to the postgraduate trainees. If there was a deadlock then the point principally agreed in the service structure committee should be separately notified.”

Dr Rana Rafique said that the service structure already existed and modification should be done on urgent basis to remove concerns of the community. Dr Arif Iftikhar said that induction into grade 18 of MO was possible only when all the serving doctors were promoted as per their due scale and one step up gradation. Dr Badar said that promotion should start from seniors and should trickle down to juniors.