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Patients suffer as doctors go on strike in Pakistan
Publication Date : 18-09-2013
Doctors at the three teaching hospitals in Peshawar observed complete strike on Tuesday, causing hardships to thousands of patients who came from far-off areas of the province to seek treatment.
Addressing a press conference here, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai termed the strike illegal and politically motivated. He said that the government had already announced service structure for the doctors and there was no logic behind observing the strike.
“We have already announced free treatment for the emergency patients and recruited 500 doctors and 300 nurses to cope with the shortage of staff,” he said.
The government, he said, was committed to streamlining the affairs of health department to facilitate patients.
The government has also released 60 million Pakistani rupees to ensure unhindered diagnosis and treatment of dengue patients, he said and added that they had so far recorded 12 deaths from dengue. He said that 276 patients were being treated at different hospitals for suspected dengue virus.
He claimed that the doctors were resorting to strikes without placing their demands before the government. He said that strikes affected poor and critically ill or injured patients who were rushed to the hospitals by their relatives.
Locking hospitals and ignoring treatment of patients by doctors is a violation of rules, he said.
The minister said that a new health policy to be announced in a couple of days would resolve all problems faced by health workers.
Yousafzai claimed that the government was making all-out efforts to improve patient care in the province.
“The government is committed to resolving the problems of doctors, paramedics and nurses to ensure better health facilities at the government hospitals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Doctor Association (PDA) has vowed to continue the strike till resolution of their demands.
PDA chairman Dr Shah Sawar told a press conference on Tuesday that they couldn’t be deceived through empty announcements and they would press the government to accept
their demands. He said that the government had failed to provide security to doctors and they lived in rented rooms outside hospitals because of shortage of accommodation facilities.
The doctors didn’t attend OPD, operation theatres and stayed away from wards at the Lady Reading Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Khyber Teaching Hospital.
Majority of the patients suffered as thousands of them returned home or went to private clinics.
Sawar said that the provincial government was not serious to solve their problems. He alleged that the health minister had been trying to avoid a meeting with doctors despite their requests.