Islamabad - The young doctors of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) yesterday presented a set of demands to the government to improve healthcare facilities and conditions at the largest hospital of the federal capital. The doctors protested inside the hospital for over an hour against the rundown structure of the hospital that has been bearing the load of the patients of twin cities, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other adjoining areas without any capacity enhancement.

Security, accommodation facilities for doctors, release of salaries to the unpaid staff, 100 percent increase in postgraduate trainees and house officers’ gross stipend, service structure with time-scale promotion of all health professionals, installation of air conditioners in wards and hostels, and special incentives for the staff working in critical areas like the KP health professionals are entitled to, were the main demands of the protesters.

The expansion of facilities has been a longstanding demand of the doctors and patients too. An emergency initially established to cater to 300 patients has been receiving around 4,000 patients daily, said Dr Fazal Rabi, a representative of Young Doctors’ Association.

There is no service structure for the health professionals, consequently a doctor appointed against a position is retired on the same grade, he said.

Since 2012 salaries of government servants have been increased up to 47 per cent, said Dr Abdul Razzaq, but the postgraduate trainees and house officers were not given any raise.

Dr Faisal said he has been working with the staff of cardiac centre for the last 11 years but they are still on contract. The salary of dozens of staff members has also been stopped for the last nine months, he said.

Out of 300 house officers, 206 have been performing 30 hours extra duty without any payment, they said. The doctors said administration officers have installed air conditioners in their rooms but there has been no proper cooling system for the patients and doctors since the central cooling system of the hospital went out of order years ago. They demanded to install central cooling system and shades for attendants of the patients.

Since it’s a major referral hospital, patients come from all over the country but the hospital has no proper sitting area, washrooms and drinking water facility for the public, said Dr Fazal.

The hospital also faces staff shortage, the doctors said demanding to fulfil the shortage of staff at least in intensive care units.

Two medicines, midazolam and propofol, injected to epilepsy patients are also in short supply at hospital. It is costing Rs 24,000 per day to treat a patient that is bankrupting the poor patients as the hospital is not arranging the medicine, said Dr Umar.

The young doctors said they don’t want to make the patients suffer but the protest can turn hostile if the government does not pay heed to their demands.