Health ministry transfer deferred – JPMC Doctors call off strike

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KARACHI (May 21, 2011) : Joint action committee of doctors at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) called off its strike after weeks of protests on Friday.
The protest intensified when the doctors began boycotting operation theatres and the out-patients department at Jinnah and the National Institute of Child Health from Monday.
The committee made the announcement at a press conference held at the Jinnah protest camp.
“Our demands and protests are intact but we have called off our boycott of OPDs and operation theatres as we no longer want patients to suffer,” said Dr Sameer Qureshi.
The doctors want Jinnah hospital to be made a university. However, they were waiting for a decision from the 18th amendment implementation commission. “We are being told that the commission, which met on Thursday, has postponed devolving the health [portfolio] to the provinces. But we do not know how long it has been postponed.”
The doctors said they learnt that the commission had discussed the ministries of labour and manpower and health. “It was decided that they were many complications in devolving both,” said Usman Malik for the committee. After it was announced that the transfer of power from the federal to the provincial governments would be put off for now, the doctors temporarily called off their strike.
Separately, 160 employees of JPMC have also filed a petition in the high court against JPMC being devolved.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011.
(Published in “Express Tribune” on May 21, 2011)

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