rawalpindi    -   On the call of Grand Health Alliance, Young doctors and paramedics on Friday staged a strike at Outdoor Patients Departments of three government-run hospitals of the city against implementation of the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) reforms Act 2018 and left the patients unattended.

However, they did not withdraw services from dengue wards and emergency departments and threatened to remove services if Punjab government refused to meet their demands.

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab gave the call of strike in collaboration with Grand Medical Alliance for strike across the province.

The young doctors and nurses announced to withdraw the services from wards and refused to participate in the OPDs.

The doctors’ strike created problems for patients at government-run hospitals. Though, the administration managed to bring senior doctors at OPDs, they came for an hour only and left the place. The patients had to face problem to get medicines and the strike compelled them to go to private clinics. However, the doctors and nurses remained working in the dengue wards as per routine. The rush in the dengue wards increased.

Young Doctors Association (YDA) Rawalpindi President Dr. Rana Muhammad Azeem told The Nation that the grand medical alliance announced to withdraw the services from OPDs, but it was implemented across the province except dengue wards due to epidemic.

He said that YDA demanded to repeal MTI Reforms Act 2018 as it was against the patients, doctors and the employees of the hospitals. He said that MTI was flop system of healthcare in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Azeem said that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were protesting against it ever since its implementation.

“No facility for poor patients provided in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as patients were coming to Punjab for free healthcare. If MTI implements in Punjab then where would patients from Punjab go,” he said. He said that under the MTI system, everyone will be on contract and can be terminated easily whenever the head of board wanted.

“The government has failed to provide healthcare facilities to the patients in the government-run hospitals as doctors are on strike and no medicines are available as well as the equipment has gone out of order,” said Muhammad Akbar, a resident of Arya Mohallah, at Benazir Bhutto Hospital.

He lamented that the poor had no option, but going to private clinics. He said that the price-hike made the lives of a common man difficult and the increased cost of medicines forced them to visit government hospital.

Naveed Akhter, a resident of Satellite Town, at Holy Family Hospital, said that he brought his mother as she was complaining hypertension.

However, he said that the OPD was closed and no doctor was available.

He stated if the hospital is not meant for the patients then it should be closed down. “The government was getting money in shape of taxes and in return, it gave nothing,” he said.

Rawalpindi Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Umer while talking to media said that the strike was observed in three hospitals by young doctors, but the senior doctors deputed to manage OPDs.

However, he appreciated young doctors for not withdrawing services from dengue wards and said it was national duty to provide medical care to patients suffering from dengue virus. He said that he requested the doctors to postpone the strike till the end of epidemic in the region.

The vice chancellor said that the senior doctors and professors had been asked to perform their duties in OPDs in case of strike in coming days and a proper plan had been prepared so that no patient suffers in future.