ISLAMABAD - The closure of new emergency at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) – owing to the ongoing employees’ protest – has added to the woes of hundreds of patients.

According to details, PIMS employees are on strike for last 10 days, demanding separation of the hospital from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU).

The services in the hospital including Outdoor Patients Departments (OPDs) and hundreds of routine surgeries are being cancelled due to the strike.

Though the main emergency has not been closed, however, the new emergency has been locked by the PIMS employees.

The new emergency was established to examine the patients with minor medical issues and to reduce the burden on the main emergency.

However, closure of the facility has again diverted a large number of patients to the main emergency.

Patients unaware of the ongoing strike reached the hospital from far-flung areas and were seen sitting helplessly outside the closed new emergency.

Approximately 10,000 patients daily visit the PIMS, but after the protest, the influx of the patients has also been reduced.

Earlier, the protestors had announced a token strike and resumed their duties at OPD and operation theatre, however, the decision was not implemented.

Meanwhile, Young Doctors Association (YDA) separating itself from the ongoing protest announced that all PGs and HOs are on duty and providing medical assistance to patients.

Spokesperson YDA Dr Omer told The Nation that in a meeting with the PIMS administration, YDA supported the rational demands of PIMS employees including their job security, however, the body decided to carry on their professional duties in the hospital.

He said that 610 PGs and 340 HOs are on duty and examining the patients, however, non-availability of supporting staff has raised the burden of work.

He said that patients visiting the hospital are suffering because of the closed laboratories and other facilities.

Vice Chancellor (VC) SZABMU Prof Dr Javed Akram talking to The Nation said that it is government’s responsibility to find a way out and end this strike.

He said that the top priority of the hospital is to facilitate the patients who are suffering because of the protest and halted services.

Meanwhile, the protesters announced lockdown of all facilities after the three-day deadline expired.

Sources said that PIMS employees’ representatives in their meeting with the Minister of Capital Administration & Development Division (CADD) Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and high officials raised the issue of immediate separation of both the entities, but the officials demanded an end of the strike from employees.

The negotiating teams also mulled over the options of separating both entities including exercising the rule of bringing a presidential ordinance.

The presidential ordinance will remain effective for six months if issued.

Talking to The Nation Dr Asfandyar Khan said that there will be no compromise on the rights of PIMS employees.

He said that nothing has been finalised yet and the future strategy will be decided after consultations with all the stakeholders participating in the protest. He said that no one wants the patients’ to suffer but the employees are struggling for their rights for the last three years.