LAHORE - On the call of Pakistan Medical Association, doctors of the public hospitals observed partial strike on Thursday across the province. They closed down outdoor departments of most of the hospitals and gathered outside their respective hospitals in protest against the governments policy. Most of the doctors serving the government in rural areas and small districts observed complete strike while a large number of doctors in major public hospitals in main cities including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Islamabad did not participate in the agitation and continued providing health care service to the patients. However, some of the doctors observed partial strike in the public hospitals of the provincial capital including Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram, and Children Hospital. They did not participate in the agitation of PMA and Young Doctors Association while complete strike was observed in Lahore General Hospital and Jinnah Hospital where doctors stopped providing health care services to the patients in all the departments except emergency and ICU wards. The doctors gathered outside the hospitals where they held protest demonstration and later reached the PMA House at Ferozepur Road in small processions to join the PMA protesting camp. The office-bearers of the PMA Punjab, and PMA Lahore chapter staged a sit-in in front of the PMA House where they chanted slogans against the Punjab government and the heath department bureaucracy for creating hurdles in issuance of notification regarding confirmation of specials doctors. A large number of doctors from rural areas and small districts started reaching the PMA House early on Thursday. They were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans and demands. Some incidents of exchanging harsh words between patients attendants and doctors were also witnessed in some teaching hospitals when a few groups of doctors being backed by PMA and Young Doctors Association office-bearers tried to force the on-duty doctors to suspend their work and join the PMA House for agitation. Most of the on-duty doctors refused to obey the 'orders of PMA and YDA office-bearers saying that leaving critical patients at the mercy of junior staff and the employees would be against the ethics of medical profession. The office-bearers of the said associations took round of the various departments of all the teaching hospitals to convince the on-duty doctors and returned hopeless after they faced strong resistance. In some teaching hospitals of the City, the administrations gave additional assignments to the teaching cadre and other senior doctors to check patients at the outdoor departments and other indoor wards in the absence of those doctors who had joined agitation on the call of PMA and YDA. It is also learnt reliably that the rival groups mainly PMA (Equity Group) office-bearers also reached the teaching hospitals early on morning to foil the strike call and provided treatment to the patients where they found doctors missing. Addressing media men, the office-bearers of the PMA Lahore Chapter claimed that the doctors across the province observed complete strike leaving a strong message for the provincial government that it would be responsible for the deteriorating health care delivery if the genuine demands of the doctors community were not met. Dr Yasmin Rashid also announced that the medical community would block The Mall on 30th if their demands were not fulfilled. The next call of strike would prove a last nail in the coffin of the bureaucracys conspiracies being hatched against the medical community. PMA (Equity Group), Senior Contractor Doctors Association (SCDA), Postgraduate Doctors Association, Punjab Medical Teachers Federation and Dental Association Pakistan termed the PMA Lahore Chapter and YDAs strike call unjustified saying the Punjab government had already regularised the services of senior contract doctors. There is no justification of the strike as senior doctors demands have been fulfilled by the govt, the PMA (Equity Group) leader Dr Abdul Rauf said.