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Talks to end PDA doctors strike remain inconclusive

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Talks to end PDA doctors strike remain inconclusive
« on: June 18, 2010, 07:34:44 AM »
Talks to end PDA doctors strike remain inconclusive
PESHAWAR: Talks between the Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) and Health Department to withdraw the strike-call remained inconclusive Thursday after the association accused the latter of being oblivion to the genuine problems of the medics.

The association set a deadline for the health department to redress their problems by 21st the instant, otherwise, they would evolve strategy for a province-wide strike. The Provincial Health Department taking notice of the deadline invited the doctors’ representative for negotiations. The PDA was represented by Dr Shah Sawar, president of the association along with other office-bearers while the team of the health department was headed by Provincial Minister for Health Syed Zahir Ali Shah, secretary for health Dr Sohail Altaf and other officials.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of People’s Doctors’ Association (PDF) — a PPP-affiliated doctors’ wing and Malgary Doctoran — the ANP affiliated doctors’ body.The meeting that lasted three hours discussed the demands of the doctor’s community. The PDA representatives apprised the minister of their demands, including introduction of service structure, raise in salaries, provision of security to the community, creating new posts, construction of residential colony for doctors’, allowing doctors for overseas employment etc.

Dr Shah Sawar told The News that meeting failed due to the non-serious response by the health minister. He said the minister was not properly briefed about doctors’ demands and was unaware of service structure draft. He said prior to the meeting, the health secretary should have informed the minister about their demands, which he didn’t.

Dr Shah Sawar said the health officials were making problems for the political government, adding: “We want to meet the health minister alone without any of top aides of his department”. It was learnt that the health department refused to accept PDA demands particularly raise in salaries, construction of residential colony for doctors, removing ban on overseas employment.

Regarding service structure, it was decided that it would be soon sent to finance department while for the remaining demands the health department assured that they would consider it in due time.

Dr Shah Sawar said the health department had adopted delaying tactics and was not serious in addressing the genuine problems of the doctors’ community. He said on Monday they would chalk out plan for their protest in across the province.

Interestingly, the PDF issued a press release that termed the negotiation a success, stating that PDA had called off their strike. The release stated that PPP government always struggled for the rights of doctors’ community. The health department, which is headed by the PPP minister, took revolutionary steps for the welfare of doctor community.

The release added that seats of medical officer were increased from 150 to 200, allowances of house officers were increased from Rs5,000 to 15,000 and work is in progress on three tertiary care hospitals.The news