New service structure for Punjab doctors finalized
Lahore (Wednesday, November 07, 2012) – After long protest of young doctors , Announcement that a deal had been reached came at around 12.30pm as some 2,000 members of YDA Punjab marched on Jail Road, headed for Chief Minister’s Secretariat on The Mall for a sit-in.
Government of Punjab and various doctors’ associations have finally reached an agreement on a new service structure for doctors, after 25 meetings spanning several months of negotiations.
The announcement that a deal had been reached came at around 12.30pm as some 2,000 members of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab marched on Jail Road, headed for the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on The Mall for a sit-in.
Meanwhile, YDA representatives were engaged in talks with government officials to sort out the remaining issues in the service structure agreement. As the protesters neared GOR, they got the message that the negotiations had concluded successfully. They returned to Services Hospital and gathered at the auditorium, where a YDA official briefed them on the new service structure.
He said that as part of the deal, the charges against eight doctors in a murder case would be dropped. He said that the investigation officer in the case had submitted a written statement that the doctors were not culpable in the death of a boy at the Mayo Hospital emergency ward during the doctors’ strike earlier this summer.
YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt announced that the YDA General Body was being dissolved ahead of fresh elections. He said the sitting office bearers would continue in their positions until the election and nominated a Dr Shabbir Waraich as chief election commissioner.
Earlier in the morning, doctors from across the province had gathered at Services Hospital. The doctors accused in the murder case, and a doctor who was injured during a police crackdown on striking doctors earlier this year, took to the stage as honoured guests.
Senator Ishaq Dar and other members of the Service Structure Committee formally declared that an agreement had been signed on a new service structure at the CM’s Secretariat, flanked by representatives from the YDA, Medical Teachers Association (MTA), Pakistan Medical Association and General Cadre Doctors Association (GCDA).
Dar said that it had taken 25 meetings to reach an agreement on 54 demands raised by the doctors. Dr Nasir Bokhari from the YDA, Dr Tanveer Anwar from the PMA, Dr Tehseen Riaz from the MTA and Dr Masood Shaikh from the GCDA said that the agreement must be implemented quickly. Dar said that a high-powered committee had been formed to implement the measures. He said a summary in this regard would be forwarded to the chief minister for approval within 24hours.
Doctors Issue Court proceedings
At the Lahore High Court, which continued hearing a petition by the government on Wednesday morning seeking a stay order on the YDA’s sit-in, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the doctors must comply with the Supreme Court’s directives not to go on strike to the detriment of patient treatment.
The court delayed proceedings on four occasions in the morning as no YDA representative appeared before the court. YDA Vice President Dr Amir Bandesha eventually appeared and said the doctors were being forced to protest.
Justice Ahsan asked who should be held responsible if a patient at a public hospital did not get the attention they deserved while the doctors were protesting. YDA counsel Raja Zulqarnain said the doctors would not be to blame.
The judge said he was “shocked” at the response, as the courts had gone out of their way to accommodate the doctors.
Advocate General Ishtar Ausaf Ali told the court that doctors were continuing negotiations with Senator Dar. The judge instructed him to arrange a meeting with the chief minister if the negotiations weren’t completed.
The court also summoned the record for Thursday of the murder case against eight doctors concerning the death of a boy at Mayo Hospital while doctors were on strike in July, and then adjourned proceedings.