PIMS protesters withdraw clinical services

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Islamabad : With the ongoing protest against implementation of the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Ordinance now intensifying, Day 40 of the strike at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) was marked Thursday by the closure of non-clinical services. This will be followed by withdrawal of clinical services from January 10—a step that will severely compromise the treatment of hundreds of patients currently admitted at PIMS—and a protest at Banigala on January 13.

“All offices in the Administration Block including those of the Executive Director, the Joint Executive Director, and the Deputy Executive Director; the accounts, purchase, and engineering departments; stores; as well as the School of Dentistry and the College of Nursing have been closed from today,” Chairman of the Federal Grand Health Alliance (FGHA) Dr. Asfandyar Khan stated.

“Should the government persist with its obstinacy, we will be forced to close clinical services from January 10, and will hold a protest at Banigala on January 13,” Dr. Asfandyar added. The withdrawal of clinical services means there will be no doctors, nurses, or staff to attend to patients admitted at PIMS—except for those being treated for Covid-19. The situation is expected to get grim.

According to sources, PIMS currently has 61 Covid-19 admissions. Other than that, 232 patients are admitted in the Main Hospital, 15 in Burn Centre, 150 in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Centre, and 179 in Children’s Hospital. Around 600 patients will suffer if clinical services are withdrawn, as announced. Their treatment will severely be compromised, should the protest continue.

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Earlier in the day, the PIMS protesters blocked the entrance leading to the Administration Block and chanted slogans against the government and the Executive Director of PIMS Dr. Anser Maxood, who is stated to have slipped out of this office, only to return with a “provocative message about his arrival back in the office.” The ED’s office was surrounded by angry protesters who vowed not to allow him to occupy his seat. “Dr. Asner is a traitor; he sold PIMS to get his family adjusted in the School of Dentistry,” Riaz Gujjar alleged. The crowd was eventually dispersed by a police contingent accompanied by AC Mehreen Baloch.

The protesters were furious. “On the one hand, the government has engaged and negotiated with us, while on the other, work on the implementation of MTI is in full swing. Only today, the post of Hospital Director has been advertised,” they pointed out. The protesters also levelled accusations against Dr. Humayun. Sister Naila Jesica said, “We know how to protect our home—PIMS.”

FGHA Spokesperson Dr. Hyder Abbasi said, “The government is not taking us seriously and is in fact, fooling us. We are not asking to be rewarded for services rendered for Covid patients; we want the MTI Ordinance to be withdrawn.”

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