PESHAWAR - Patients came from the far-flung areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced severe hardships in all the three tertiary government hospitals of Peshawar as doctors once again went on strike soon after PTI government launches crackdown in health sector on the basis of poor performance.

They boycotted from their duties in wards and out patients department duty in the Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar and Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar.

Talking to The Nation, Dr Shah Sawar said they would boycott OPD, surgeries and ward rounds in LRH, Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC).

He said that on several occasions they requested the provincial health minister to resolve their problems regarding accommodation, services structure and security but the minister did not properly respond.  He said they were forced start strike in three main hospitals of Peshawar.

He expressed disappointment over the indifferent attitude of the government towards doctors and said that back channel talks with the Health Department officials remained fruitless. "It is deplorable that the health minister and Health Department officials do not complete their homework to negotiate with the doctors," he added. "This reflects non-seriousness of the minister and the Health Department officials," Dr Shah Sawar said.

He said that during the dialogue, the minister offered excuse and he has no time to complete his homework to consider doctors' demands.

Shah Sawar claimed the government had assured the PDA in July last to accept its demands but to no avail. "We do not want to make the patients suffer but we are left with no other option but to go on strike," he added.

He said that up to 500 doctors were performing duty in various hospitals of the province without pay and asked the government to release their salary. He called for setting up a committee to recommend a proper service structure for the doctors.

He said the other demands included increase in salaries and stipend of the employees, regularisation of the ad hoc doctors, creation of new vacancies for the doctors under the Public Service Commission, residential colonies for doctors, arrangements for the accommodation of the doctors in their respective hospitals and foolproof security.