Report on demands by 25th: YDA ends hunger strike
LAHORE. Feb 17: The young doctors ended on Sunday their 14-day long hunger strike after a representative delegation of their association called on the chief minister.
An official handout said the delegation also assured the chief minister of not going on strike again as well as apologised for its past conduct.
The government was indirectly in touch with the young doctors for the last many days.
The chief minister constituted a committee under Senator Pervaiz Rashid to make recommendations with regard to the charter of demands by the doctors and submit it for approval by Feb 25.
The chief minister shook hand with the young doctors and gave them juice to end their hunger strike. Snacks and tea too were served to them as a goodwill gesture.
The chief minister thanked the doctors for ending the strike. The doctors in turn apologised for their previous attitude and assured the chief minister that they would never observe strike again. They also presented a bouquet to the chief minister. Later government officials went to the hunger strike camp of the doctors in front of the Services Hospital. They offered the doctors juice and other eatables for ending the strike.
Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Special Assistant Khwaja Salman Rafique, the secretary health, Vice-Chancellor King Edward Medical University Prof Dr Faisal Masood, and the authorities concerned attended the meeting. The Young Doctors Association delegation comprised Dr Nasir Abbas, Dr Hamid Butt, Dr Usman Dar and Dr Rai Ahmed.
Welcoming the announcement of doctors of ending their strike, the chief minister described it as a good omen for the health sector. He said the promises made by the Punjab government for the welfare of doctors would be honoured.
The chief minister while constituting a committee under Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said it would consider issues like free provision of medicines in hospitals, repair of machinery, improvement of healthcare system and solution to problems of the doctors and submit its recommendations on Feb 25.
He said the government had spent billions of rupees on the provision of treatment facilities to the people during the last four and a half years. An additional Rs9 billion was being borne out by the government due to the increase in the salaries of doctors, paramedical staff and nurses.
He said the raise in the salaries of doctors was unprecedented and despite this the highest rate of strikes of doctors in Punjab was incomprehensible.
He said the government revived the dialysis facility for the poor patients which was withdrawn by the dictatorial Musharraf regime, and imported machinery required for the purpose.
He said billions of rupees were provided by him from his discretionary fund for the liver and kidney transplant of poor and deserving patients. Air conditioners were installed for poor patients in hospitals at a cost of Rs2 billion.
He said doctors, paramedical staff and nurses worked round the clock during the dengue epidemic. It was time to sink bitterness of the past and make collective efforts for the development of healthcare system and make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state in the real sense.
He said the Gujranwala incident tarnished the image of health sector and the demands of justice would be fulfilled. Doctors’ problems would be resolved so that they could serve the ill with peace of mind.
Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the chief minister had taken unprecedented measures for the betterment of young doctors. Contract doctors had been regularised, their salaries increased and the issue of their service structure resolved.
He said the salaries of doctors in Punjab were higher as compared to that of other provinces. But, he regretted, the conduct of doctors was still not proper. He said the doctors themselves went into a blind alley and the chief minister was now rescuing them out of it.
The young doctors thanked the chief minister for what they said showing kindness to them.
They also reportedly expressed their regrets over the Gujranwala incident and said that it brought a bad name to their community.
The decision of the chief minister has saved the respect of the senior doctors in addition to saving the career of the young doctors. The prediction of the General Cadre Doctors Association finally came true in the form of fruitful dialogue between the chief minister and the young doctors.
These views were expressed by GCDA President Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh after the ending of the strike.
Dr Masood Sheikh had from the platform of his association attended the chief minister’s meeting during which suggestions were sought from senior doctors and principals of medical colleges.
During the session, Dr Masood Sheikh had proposed the inclusion of doctors of all cadres in the committee under Senator Pervaiz Rashid for a decision on the young doctors’ demands with a consensus.