Senior medics fall short of ‘expectations’
LAHORE, July 4: The two major medical organisations comprising senior doctors – the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and Medical Teachers Association (TMA) have failed to play a role in resolving one of the worst healthcare crises in Punjab caused by young doctors’ strike.
Though the Punjab government has been trying to make the emergencies and outpatient departments (OPDs) functional through alternate arrangements, the temporarily hired doctors were unable to give complete treatment to the patients requiring surgical interventions, critical care and those suffering from chronic diseases.
Given the shortage of doctors, the operation lists have been reduced to 20 per cent to 30 per cent at major teaching hospitals in Lahore during the last four days or so. Admissions were being denied to a large majority of the visiting patients while the senior doctors are attending patients of their choice.
After July 1 crackdown on the striking doctors, the government as well as the patients were expecting a positive response by the PMA and the MTA to mitigate patients’ sufferings.
Though the two bodies have not been on good terms owing to their mutual differences over some issues, they had a unanimous stance on the issue of their service structure and against arrest of their younger colleagues.
Reaction of both these bodies to the measures being taken by the provincial government to counter the YDA strike was as brash as that of the young doctors — issuing threats of suspending health care services.
The YDA had denied mediation offer by these two organisations during its earlier agitation. Prior to July 1 action, the bodies again offered mediation to YDA during the recent strike but in vain.
However, since July 1 showdown the two bodies, instead of trying to bring the striking doctors and the Punjab government to dialogue table in the larger interest of poor and deserving patients, had been instigating the junior medics to prolong the strike.
Chapters of MTA and PMA at various teaching and district hospitals of the province held several meetings separately at their respective institutions and supported the cause of striking doctors in violation of their own constitutions and laid down ‘aims
Particularly, the senior doctors including teaching staff and consultants like assistant professors, associate professors and professors were not ready to sacrifice their private practice at a critical time and instead threatened to withdraw their services
beyond the office timings.
Both these bodies have not issued even a single statement urging the doctors to continue patients’ care. Instead they have been provoking senior and neutral doctors to support their striking colleagues.