Editorial : Protesting doctors - Tuesday, April 05, 2011

WHETHER it is the small matter of food served at weddings or the more serious job of running the bureaucracy, Punjab’s current rulers have no compunction about seeking to ensure compliance through force. The merits of tactful handling seem to be lost on rulers who appear very sure that they are always right in whatever action they take. The month-long strike by junior doctors in public hospitals across the province is yet another instance of this attitude as the government tries to paint the other side as the villain while attempting to project itself as an administration of the sincere. In reality, the blame of suffering must be equally shared between the strikers and their employers.
The crisis is the worst of its kind to have hit Punjab in a long time. The hospitals in the province are in a state of chaos as the Young Doctors’ Association presses for improvements in employment packages. The Punjab government’s emphasis has been on forcing the doctors to return to work and it has fired some 60 doctors posted in various public hospitals in its jurisdiction. Not only that, one report said the government was keen to quickly hire replacements, willing to forego the rules as it did so. The doctors are left with no option but to try and block the way of those aiming to take their jobs. The scenario is much uglier than the situation which has persisted over the last few days.
Meanwhile, let there be no doubt that the doctors have generated negative publicity. Some of the statements their leaders have been making on the gravity of their problems smack of sheer callousness. While the expanse of the protest betrays the genuineness of their demands, and while they may continue to blame the ignominious label that they now wear on a stubborn government, the doctors must also show some flexibility. It may be a purely administrative matter, but it is nevertheless one which needs to be settled with political acumen — on both sides. Egos are an unaffordable luxury when human lives are at stake.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/05/protesting-doctors.html

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