To get admission in a medical college used to be a dream and to become a doctor was a matter of pride for the families. Students used to spend three or even four years in FSC to reach the required numbers and then a tedious test started for the students to get admission to study medicine. However the current scenario might help changing the mindset of people towards the sacred occupation of doctors that had earlier gained the popularity as perfect career choice but also on moral grounds as great service to mankind.
The unfortunate plight of the young doctors and Punjab government’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the matter has aggravated the situation. The Young doctors’ strike that started from Mayo Hospital in Lahore demanding a better pays in accordance with their qualification and experience has now spread to not only whole Punjab but doctors from other provinces have reportedly indicated to go on strike for showing solidarity with their colleagues in Punjab and to demand a uniform pay package for doctors across the country.
Coercion has never been a solution for the problems, and Punjab Government has misunderstanding of recruiting newer and inexperienced doctors in place of the doctors of strike has been bounced back. Giving responsibilities to save lives in the hands of young doctors who are unable to handle the system might prove counter-productive and in fact risk the health of patients. Furthermore in Rawalpindi, 23 newly appointed doctors have refused to join duty and tendered their resignations in solidarity with their protesting colleagues. On the other hand, the Medical Teachers Association’s Punjab chapter has held consultation meetings and announced their support for the Young Doctor’s Association.
Furthermore the senior doctors have also jumped into the situation keeping in view the constant mishandling of issue by the government of the Punjab; that is about to put the whole public health sector on halt. Senior doctors have shown concerns over the bureaucratic attitude of the Punjab government and threatened to withdraw their services if it did not implement the pay raise it had announced on March 31.
Unavailability of doctors has caused several deaths providing people chance to point fingers towards the insanity of selfishness of doctors and their inhumane behavior unlike the field of medicine. However Punjab government announced that a raise would be implemented in the form of the Rs 3,000 annual increase in the doctors’ monthly salaries. Unrealistic would to to call the doctors inhumane on basis of the moral grounds to serve humanity. At last they have needs and families to look after. Moreover they work for more hours and in odd times than people in other professions. It is fact that public sector cannot afford paying the kind of remuneration possible in the private sector or through private practice, but the government should at least compensate doctors a living wage.
Unfortunately it has also been said that names of the protesting doctors would be put on ECL so they could not leave the country. Where as Saudi Arab has offered handsome salaries to Pakistani doctors to recruit them in Saudi Arab. Alas! we later complain the brain drain, while we do not realize the sensitivity of the situations. Doctors are the assets for societies, and their services in times of need are remarkable.
In end sufferings of the poor are increasing, while Punjab Government in lacking the far-sightedness and health system is on brink of collapse. Poor can not afford the expensive private hospitals while being sick and unattended in public hospitals they are helpless and compelled to stretch their already limited resources by going to private hospitals. While Punjab Government is obstinate in not moving a step back from its stand to negotiate with Young Doctors Association. Thus it has become the duty of federal government to take initiative by calling the stake holders on table including doctors and the Punjab Government. Thus the concerns of both parties could be address to bring a normalcy in health sector. Furthermore it would be wise to announce a uniform pay scale for the doctors and few possible perks for them. Meanwhile little increase in budget for health sector would also be appreciated.