Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Doctors Council (KPDC) on Monday announced that the Outdoor Patients Departments (OPD) at the Lady Reading Hospital will open today until tomorrow to facilitate suffering patients. They, however, threatened to resume the strike against the provincial health minister if talks with the chief minister fail.
OPDs at Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Hayatabad Medical Complex and other government hospitals in Peshawar remained closed.
Due to the strike — being held against the alleged thrashing of Khyber Teaching Hospital Assistant Professor Dr Ziauddin Afridi by health minister Hisham Inamullah Khan — patients had to turn to private clinics for costly consultation and treatment. The government has repeatedly warned doctors against boycotting duty, but to no avail.
The doctors, who have been on a strike since the past six days, are expected to meet KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on his invitation on Tuesday.
KPDC have demanded that Hisham, as well as representatives of the Insaf Doctors’ Forum (IDF), should not be included in the negotiations.
The doctors’ association is demanding the removal of Dr Nosherwan Burki, the head of the National Health Task Force, who is behind the introduction of several healthcare reforms in the province. The doctors accuse him of pushing for the privatisation of hospitals claiming that the step would endanger their jobs.
KPDC is also demanding that health minister be removed and a first information report (FIR) be filed against him for allegedly beating Dr Afridi. The police have initiated a probe and recorded the statements of hospital officials but an FIR is yet to be filed.
A medico-legal report of the health minister has been received by the police. The examination, carried out at the Police Services Hospital, Peshawar, reveals that Dr Hisham suffered a foot fracture.
Dr Afridi had also submitted a medical report to the police but it has been sent for a forensic examination. According to a police official, who wished not to be named, Dr Afridi’s examination was carried out at KTH and some of the doctors who prepared it are part of the ongoing protest. The police, therefore, want to ensure that the report has not been tampered with in Dr Afridi’s favour.
While talking to DawnNewsTV, Senior Superintendent of Police (operations) Zahoor Babar Afridi said that the police cannot register an FIR until they receive the medico-legal report of Dr Afridi as well.
Police will decide if the registration of an FIR is warranted after they receive Dr Afridi’s final report, he added.
Meanwhile, the security manager of KTH Col retired Usman was asked to resign by the hospital administration. The deputy superintendent of police assigned to the hospital was also relieved of his charge on the administration’s recommendation.