LAHORE    -   Healthcare providers came out on roads on Monday to protest against the Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Act 2019, causing a massive traffic jam on important arteries at peak hours.

After causing huge inconvenience to patients during 12 days strike at OPDs of public sector hospital across the province, the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) extended protests outside health facilities to give a strong message to the government.

On the call of GHA, young doctors, young consultants, nurses, paramedical staff and allied health professionals blocked major roads in the morning, causing worst traffic mess for hours.

Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on The Mall, Jail Road, Shahra-e-Fatima Jinnah and adjoining arteries. Patients faced huge difficulties in reaching the health facilities due to blockage of roads outside by the protesters. Even ambulances carrying patients were stuck in traffic jam. Healthcare providers from Lahore General Hospital and Children’s Hospitals blocked Ferozpur Road and those from Services Hospitals and Punjab Institute of Cardiology the Jail Road. Protesters from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital blocked Shahra-e-Fatima Jinnah. Doctors, nurses and paramedics from Mayo Hospital marched to the Mall and staged a sit in at GPO Chowk.

Carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands, the protesters chanted slogans against the government. The GHA announced to continue OPDs strike and warned the government of extending strike to indoor wards if the legislation was not withdrawn.

The young doctors and allied staff are holding strike at OPDs against the government plan of ‘privatization of hospitals’. They stayed away from duties at OPDs, operation theatres, radiological and pathological labs at teaching hospitals including Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital, Children’s Hospital, LGH, Jinnah Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital, PIC in Lahore as well as other districts across the province.

The miseries of the poor patients are continuously increasing due to lack of healthcare services in outdoor wards and OTs in hospitals of Punjab. Several patients have to go to the private hospitals for elective procedures, which puts extra financial burden on the poor patients.

However, the authorities claimed provision of health facilities at OPDs with the help of consultants and administrative doctors.