The ongoing protest of doctors and supporting staff at PIMS has increased the miseries of incoming patients having multiple medical issues

The ongoing protest of doctors and supporting staff at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has increased the miseries of incoming patients with having multiple medical issues due to refusal of outpatient department services and suspension of major surgeries in operation theaters. Responding to protest call given by Grand Health Alliance to review decision of implementation of Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI), doctors went on strike from early morning till evening in the hospital, badly affecting medical services there, while treatment in private hospitals, dispensaries and clinics continued as usual by them at evening time. Registration of treatment of OPD patients started in the morning but doctors refused to attend the patients or remained absent in OPDs.

Many protesters even forced to suspend service if they found any doctor in patient room in hospital. “They are not opposing the treatment of poor patients but actually they are contradictory those ethical and professional norms and values of this noble profession, which are taught to them to follow during their job for better treatment of patients, “Anees Qazi, a young attendant said. He said that rather following these values they preferred to go for strike in case of any complaint against the authorities concerned without considering the suffering of patients due to their this attitude.

“Poor patients cannot afford to go to private hospitals but they are ignored in such routine doctors protest at PIMS for minor gains.” Saleem Hayat, a patient admitted at PIMS said “I am not against their demands as they should raise their voice against any discrimination but patient care should not be avoided in any way.” He suggested to adopt any other appropriate way to tell the authorities concerned about their issues rather suspending medical services at the hospital. He said that it had become a regular practice of doctors to suspend outpatient department services, forcing a large number of poor patients, including elderly, to return without any treatment.

Akhter Kaleem, an attendant complained that a large number of patients at PIMS had to face several difficulties in accessing health assistance due to routine strikes of doctors and nursing staff.

He further said that the administration of the hospital should take notice of routine absence of doctors and paramedical staff in different sections due to their political activities.

He added that many patients who visited here from others parts of the country with different medical complications had to move to private hospitals due to whole day agitation related activities of doctors. “Doctors should raise voice for their genuine demands but they must realize the sufferings of patients at the hospital who faced refusal of treatment due to their strike,” Nasreen Bibi, a patient at PIMS said.
She appealed the doctors to serve the ailing rather spending time in agitations and protests for political gains. She added that the hospital administration should also realize the problems of incoming patients and attitude of doctors during protest.

“Under professional ethics, medical practitioners are bound to avoid any discriminating attitude or exploiting vulnerable situations in the hospital,” Imran Nazeer, another patient said.

He said under the code of ethics prepared by Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) for medical practitioners, gross negligence in respect of professional duties might lead to suspension or removal from services.

When contacted the spokesman of the Ministry of National Health Services said that the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) would be applicable only on those employees who would join it while those employees who would not join it, would continue to work as civil servants. He said that better future opportunities would be available for the hospital staff with this system.

He said that the patient care service would further improve in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences with the implementation of Medical Teaching Institutions while the MTI would also protect the rights of hospital’s workers.

He said that the government would ensure provision of quality medical services to people at hospitals and innovative steps were being taken in that regard. He said that the ministry had started reformation in health sector to make improvements.

The spokesman dispelled the impression that the fees at hospitals would increase with the implementation of MTI. He added MTI was being implemented for ensuring better services for general public and the performance of hospitals would improve and people would get better health services.

Originally published at The Nation