Doctors protest entering the health secretariat in Lahore, get the police thrashing
LAHORE: Young doctors clashed with police at the Punjab Health Secretariat on Friday after the overnight hunger camp outside the office of the secretary of Special Health and Medical Education (SCH & ME).
Young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, under the banner of the Grand Health Alliance (GHA), Punjab, held a hunger strike camp at the Health Secretariat against the inability and inefficiency of health authorities to provide protective equipment for health professionals working in isolation wards for treating patients coronavirus in this province.
However, things began to get worse when the protesting medical staff put forward a political agenda and demanded the restoration of the deferred doctor and increased salary.
The Association of Young Doctors (YDA), Senior Punjab Vice President Dr. Shoaib Niazi released a list of YDA office bearers who were suspended during their last agitation movement against the Law on the Institute of Medical Teaching (Reform).
Department of Health officials said that young doctors had requested medical equipment for medical personnel at first, but then they began making other demands including the recovery of their suspended colleagues, and additional incentives for all doctors. In addition, officials said they demanded the transfer of doctors, who tested positive for coronavirus, to a five-star hotel room after turning it into quarantine.
Ministry of Health officials said it was not the time for health service providers to engage in politics regarding a pandemic when the government and health equipment struggle against the common enemy of the corona virus.
When young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff began aggressively aggressing under the leadership of the GHA Chair and YDA President Dr. Salman Haseeb and Chief of Paramedical Staff (PSA) Chairman of Punjab Arshad Butt, the health authority called the police to maintain peace in the secretariat.
The special health secretary said that young doctors, nurses and paramedical staff had occupied the overall health secretariat. “We are calling the police to protect us, not for arrest,” he added.
Meanwhile, police beat the doctors and locked them in the health secretariat. The doctors also called their colleagues from the city hospital to help them. A large number of doctors, nurses and paramedics staged demonstrations outside the secretariat.
The young doctors claimed that the police failed to end their hunger strike camp when the demonstrators rearranged themselves. They promised that they would continue to provide full services to all patients in general and the coronavirus ward in the hospital, but also vowed to continue their protests until their demands were met.