RAWALPINDI - Like other parts of province, Young Doctors Association (YDA) observed complete strike in all the Outdoor Patient Departments (OPDs) of Allied Hospitals (AHs) to press the Punjab government to accept their demands.

The YDA has been observing strike for the last four days doctors against the transfer of their colleagues, who, according to them, have been transferred to break the association’s strength. However, the plan backfired as both factions had been united in anger at the orders. Moreover the YDA is also demanding raise in the salary of doctors.

Due to strike, thousands of patients, who had come from far-flung areas, had to suffer a lot. The attendants of patients agitated against the doctors and demanded of Punjab government to solve the maladies of the doctors in best interest of poor patients. According to reports, YDA members forcefully barred senior doctors in OPDs of AHs from seeing even serious patients in District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ), Holy Family Hospital (HFH) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), sparking wave of anger among the attendants. However, the doctors were present in emergency departments and providing medical treatment to sick persons.

In BBH, during a visit paid by this scribe, it was observed that all the young doctors abandoned their work owing to which hundreds if patients faced hardships. Outside many rooms, old patients could be witnessed requesting young doctors for checking them up but in vain.

Abdul Majid, a 74 years old man, told TheNation that he was suffering from stomach problem and arrived from Doltala to get medical treatment in BBH. He said that he was so poor and could not bear the expenses of private doctors. “The war is continuing between doctors and rulers and they should not ridicule the destitute segments of the society,” he said while tears were rolling down on his cheeks.

Qazi Ahmed, another patient in BBH, said that he got appointment from doctors for medical check up but the doctor was not seeing him after a YDA member Dr Umer Saeed stopped him to do so. BBH MS Dr Asif Qadir Mir, when approached, said that only young doctors were on strike while the rest were on duty and checking the patients. He said that he visited all the departments to ensure the presence of senior doctors in order to provide medical treatment to patients.

In HFH, only 250 patients got treatment against the daily average of 1800 patients, source said. There was no doctor present at HFH OPD, departments of ENT, surgery, liver and medicine whereas some doctors of YDA forced the senior doctors to leave OPDs. The situation in DHQ was also worrying as a number of patients were standing outside the rooms of doctors but none of them was attended by any doctor. Nonetheless, senior doctors were present in their rooms and seeing the patients. Senior doctors said that except OPD, the doctors imparted duties in all other departments and provided medical treatment to the patients.

Talking to media men, YDA Punjab Chairman Dr Haroon said that young doctors remained away from OPDs but emergency services were being provided. He said that Punjab government was still unmoved despite the five days of strike in government-run hospitals in Lahore. He said that YDA members informed health department officials about the problems being faced by the doctors on April 14, 2012.

He said that the doctors would come out on streets if the government failed to fulfil their demands and their protest will continue till accepatance of their demands. He said that young doctors did not want to create problems for the general public in the government-run hospitals so they did not withdraw their services from emergency department.