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Eight doctors held as police step in to stop closure of hospital wards

Bureau Report 2017-06-14
PESHAWAR: Eight doctors were arrested here on Tuesday when police baton-charged the protesting medics, who were trying to close the wards and out-patients-department at Hayatabad Medical Complex.

The strike call was given by Young Doctors Association for acceptance of its demands.

`The doctors were disrupting operations of the hospital due to which they were arrested under different sections of Pakistan Penal Code,` said SP Imran Malik.

Prof Shehzad Akbar Khan, the medical director of HMC, told Dawn that the administration allowed the doctors to hold peaceful demonstration but they started campaign to lock the OPD, operation theatre and accident and emergency department to deny treatment to patients.

`We have to provide unhindered services to the people coming from far flung areas to seek treatment. We would continue to serve patients,`he said.

Prof Shehzad said that doctors and other staff at HMC worked and defied the strike call for the sake of the patients. `We cannot allow anyone to close the hospital,` he added.

The members of YDA have gone on strike against government`s notification regarding devolution of Postgraduate Medical Institute.

They also demand compensation for the families of their five colleagues, who were killed in the hostel due to lack of protection and leal(age of gas.

Dr Ahmed Zeb, the joint secretary of the association, told Dawn that 40 of his colleaguessustained injuries when police resorted to baton charge against the doctors, who were protesting peacefully at HMC.

Police, however, said that the doctors were arrested on the request of the hospital administration.

They said that the arrested doctors would be presented in court on Wednesday.

`We protested non-provision of stipend to 500 trainee medical officers since their induction in January and amendment to medical officers Act to allow experience to doctors working in teaching as well as district and rural hospitals,` said Dr Ahmed.

He said that most of their leaders were arrested but they would continue to protest against the government. `The association has established strike camp near Suri Pul for the past 18 days. We would continue the same tillacceptance of our demands,` he said.

Minister for Information Shah Farman, in a statement, accused PML-N leader Amir Muqam of instigating doctors to hold protest and disrupt operation of the hospital. `The government has enhanced salaries of doctors by more than 100 per cent with a view to improve patients` care,` he said.

Mr Farman said that government would ensure provision of effective services to patients at hospitals and nobody would be allowed to create obstacles in it.

It was third time within a month that government used police to avoid strikes at the hospitals.

Previously, doctors, paramedics and other health workers locked down the hospitals. A month ago the protesters assaulted medical director of Lady Reading Hospital.