LAHORE – Young Doctors Association continued strike at public sector hospitals across the province including the City on the fifth consecutive day on Monday, adding to the woes of visiting patients and their attendants besides causing cancellation of hundreds of scheduled operation.

As five hours long negotiation between the government and YDA leadership at Allama Iqbal Medical College remained inconclusive, the medics body has announced to continue strike till fulfillment of its demand of cancellation of transfer orders of all adhoc doctors. Principal AIMC Prof Javed Akram and Special Secretary Health Dawood Ahmed Bareach held dialogue with protesting doctors led by YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt. Government has recently transferred hundreds of adhoc doctors from different public sector hospitals to accommodate those selected by Punjab Public Service Commission.  YDA closed down out patient departments (OPDs) of major hospitals, halting referral of patients to the wards for admission and thus gradually decreasing the number of indoor patients. The protesting doctors stopped seniors from attending patients, resulting in ugly scenes of exchange of arguments among healthcare providers and with attendants of patients.

Closure of OPDs caused people to either rush to the emergency department or to nearby private hospitals for treatment of their near and dear ones. Huge rush at emergencies added to the problems as a large number of patients could not get medical advice.

Incidents of exchange of harsh words between doctors and attendants of patients were witnessed at almost all public sector hospitals in the City. The attendants cursed the protesting doctors and demanded the government to take a bold stance and close chapter of blackmailing of so called healthcare providers once for all.

They said that the government should deal with the protesting doctors with iron hand and did not allow them to hospitals hostage. They also urged the higher courts to take notice of the issue and take measures to ensure provision of healthcare facilities to the suffering humanity.