LAHORE - Healthcare providers on Wednesday extended strike to indoor wards of public sector hospitals across the province, adding to the agony of ailing humanity by practically paralyzing services delivery. As 20 days strike at OPDs and suspension of services at operation theatres and diagnostic laboratories failed to bring health managers on table, the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) extended protests indoors for giving a strong message to the government.

Prior to that, healthcare providers also came out on roads thrice as part of protest against the Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Act 2019, causing a massive traffic jam on important arteries at peak hours.

Infuriated over disciplinary proceedings against protesting doctors, the GHA has threatened to further extend the strike to emergencies, meaning practically shutting down the health facilities.

Doctors and allied health staff deputed for treatment of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at VVIP bloc of Services Hospital also stopped performing duties, causing the management to depute senior consultants and administrative doctors.  The young doctors and allied staff stayed away from duties at OPDs, operation theatres, radiological and pathological labs and indoor wards of teaching hospitals including Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Lahore General Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Punjab Institute of Cardiology in Lahore as well as other districts across the province.

The miseries of the poor patients increased due to lack of healthcare services 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.

Visiting patients and their attendants have called upon the government to hold meaningful dialogues for ending prolonged strike that had paralysed service delivery at hospitals. Some suggested taking extreme action against protesters to put to an end such tactics once for all. A group of GHA in Jinnah Hospital announced calling off strike, causing doctors and allied health staff to besiege the Medical Superintendent office. The protesting doctors continued siege to prevent possible announcement that according to them was an attempt from irrelevant persons to dent unity of protesters.

 

 They lamented that instead of talking to the stakeholders, the government was trying to use irrelevant persons to sabotage the movement launched for protecting rights not only of doctors and allied health staff but the poor patients. They said that the strike would continue and even it could be extended to emergencies for saving hospitals from privatization.