End strike in 24 hours or you're gone, Punjab govt told doctors - Pakistan Today

End strike in 24 hours or you’re gone, Punjab govt told doctors

LAHORE – The Punjab government has given a 24-hour ultimatum to young doctors to call off their strike or face action under the Compulsory Service Act, a cabinet meeting decided late on Friday.
Terming the services of doctors attached to the Health Department “essential”, the government decided further that police be deployed at hospitals to ensure their smooth operation. “It has been decided to ensure that those who want to work should keep working and no one should be allowed to interrupt routine work,” an official privy to the meeting said.
The meeting also decided to take various measures to quickly resolve the problems being faced by the patients as a result of the doctors’ strike. The cabinet said that every possible step should be taken for the treatment of patients and every effort would be made for this purpose. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif told the meeting that the Punjab government had been sympathetic to the demands of the doctors and offered substantial increase in their remunerations, therefore the strike was no longer justified.
The Health Department has been tasked with initiating action against doctors if they do not call off their strike. Earlier, officials of the Health Ministry, led by Health Secretary Nargis Sethi, had held a meeting with the Young Doctors Association (YDA) and vowed to resolve their problems, including regularisation of their jobs.
Dr Muhammad Ajmal of the YDA confirmed the meeting with the government officials but said that the strike would continue till all their demands were met. YDA President Dr Abbas said that young doctors had submitted their resignations and it was a misconception that people were dying because of the strike.
He said senior doctors were looking after all the critical emergency units. “It is not possible that a patient remains deprived of treatment in the presence of senior doctors,” he said. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also went through some trouble when he was rushed under high security to the Federal Government Services Hospital with severe pain in his gums and teeth while the doctors were on strike and the outpatient department was not operational, sources said.
He was treated in the emergency room in a short time, they said.

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