KARACHI: Protesting doctors at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) suspended outpatient department (OPD) services recently, forcing a large number of poor patients, including the elderly, to return without getting any treatment.
The doctors are demanding that the federal and the provincial governments take them on board over the fate of the hospital which, under a Supreme Court order, is to be handed over to the former.
Earlier, the Doctors Joint Action Committee gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the Federal and Sindh Governments to constitute a committee to resolve the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s (JPMC) doctors’ issues otherwise they will observe a token strike and stage a protest.
Meanwhile, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) also requested the Secretary Health Sindh on behalf of the Doctors Joint Action Committee to constitute a high power committee to resolve the present uncertain volatile situation in Sindh’s biggest public sector hospital. Executive Director, JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, similarly requested necessary action to resolve the matter.
As per sources, the step was taken without taking the medical staff, the main stakeholders, into confidence, which resulted in a series of strikes, causing immense hardships to patients.
The employees of the healthcare facilities challenged this development in the Sindh High Court (SHC), which ordered to hand back the control of the hospitals to the centre in 2016.
The Sindh government claiming to have invested millions in the development of NICH, NICVD and JPMC challenged the high court’s decision in the apex court, which wrapped up the dispute upholding SHC`s decision, in 2019.
Fearing that their interests would be ignored and the federal government would roll back the process of their promotions, the doctors demand that both the federal and the provincial governments set up a committee in which their representatives are included and hold ‘meaningful’ talks.
The prolonged legal battle had a severe negative impact on patient services at the hospital as well as careers of the doctors as there was no promotion or hiring under court directives.