Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salute to the Punjab Government

When doctors are emotionally blackmailed to work and arrested for non-compliance, it's time for them to go.

I am a medical student of Final Year in a public medical college. I scored straight A's in both O and A Levels and have been passing my annual professional exams in first divisions. So you can safely presume that I'm not retarded.

Not long ago, I made the very tough decision to enter this profession. Now, I was facing the very tough decision whether to serve my country or go abroad and earn a worthwhile salary. But this decision has been made for me, thanks to the Punjab Government.

Lets take a quick round-up of the doctors' strike:

  • Doctors went on strike for a service structure last year but the government merely increased the existing pays to cool the doctors down and promised a proper service structure.
  • February 2012: Supreme Court orders Punjab Government to give the doctors a service structure.
  • May 2012: Doctors continue to pursue the government to give the doctors a service structures or they'll call a strike.
  • 15th June, 2012: Doctors call an OPD strike. This doubled their duty as instead of dealing OPD patients in office hours, they were dealing with them 24/7 in the emergencies. Wards and Operation Theaters were running as normal too.
  • Media gives the impression "Doctors are on strike and patients are dying". The public and the government are convinced.

  • 1st July, 2012: YDA calls a meeting of it's general body to discuss the future of the strike.
  • 11.30 PM: Police raids the Services Hospitals hostels and arrests all doctors in their sight. Remember, these were the doctors who were resting after their Emergency shift and were going to work the next shift.
  • After this treatment, all doctors from public hospitals flee. 

Now let's answer a few questions in the minds of the public.

Where is the injustice?
In Pakistan, doctors do not have a service structure. What this essentially means is that after 5 years of MBBS, about 50% of the doctors will get a paid house job of Rs 22,000 per month (Yes! In contrary to the blatant government lie that doctors earn at least 60,000!). The rest will work as honorary house officers, not earning a dime for their 36 hours shifts. After the house job, he'll have to pass FCPS Part-I to get employed as a trainee. If he is lucky enough to get a paid seat, he'll earn Rs 44,000 per month. Otherwise, he'll have to work honorary till a paid seat is vacated. Once he completes 4 years of his specialization, his contract ends and he is unemployed again. Again, he can start working on an honorary post as a Senior Registrar till a paid seat is available. Yes, 5 years of MBBS, 1 year of house job, 4 years of FCPS and there is still no guarantee of a paid job. I personally know a Senior Registrar working for free, tell me and I'll tell you the correspondence.
So who are the senior doctors? Out of about 34,000 young doctors in Punjab, only 200 will get from grade 17 to 20 via Public Service Commission. Wonderful prospects there, you see.
If there's one thing the doctors are fighting for, it's equality. Equality with other professions of this country, if not any special treatment.

What about the taxes spent on doctors?
Hardly any money is spent on doctors in reality. The medical teachers don't earn much, and facilities are in alarming state. Regardless, first the 90% female doctors who don't even practice after graduating should be held accountable instead of the ones working tirelessly in the wards. So please, think before you speak

Isn't this country too poor to afford this service structure?
No. Healthcare is a top priority in all developed countries. But we are an unfortunate lot where the state has failed to give the doctors a service structure for the past 65 years. Here, Rs 2 billion are spent on laptops to support political campaigns but we are too poor for an efficient healthcare system.

What do doctors earn in other countries?
Doctors mostly go to the gulf, US, UK or Australia.
KSA- 4,000 riyals onwards.
USA- $10,000 onwards.
UK- 2,000 pounds onwards.
Australia- $7,000 onwards.
And just for interest, Indian doctors earn 1,70,000 Indian rupees. That's more than PKR 2 lacs.

Why don't they leave then?
This, just like our Ex-Prime Minister, is the million dollar question. The doctors are putting their patients- the poor Pakistanis ahead of their prospects to earn abroad. But they are frustrated now. They want a better future in Pakistan, or else other countries will sweep this country of it's finest minds.

As for me, I don't see how things are going to get any better for doctors in this country. Naturally, I have planned to apply abroad. And I'd like to salute the Punjab Government for helping me and many others like me to make this decision.


  1. you have mentioned clearly what doctors are earning in other countries yet you fail to mention what doctors are earning in this country.. why?

  2. Also this video that you have referenced to is edited where the government offical is giving proof. You guys are so misleading..

  3. I quite clearly mentioned what (and how many of) the doctors are earning in the first question, "Where is the injustice". Please read it again.
    Secondly, I did not edit or upload the video. But you can be sure of the fact that they have no logical replies. Here is a video of their replies. Tell me if any of them convinces you.


  4. firstly, we are not developed country we are developing country. that is why you cant compare your salary with the other ones.
    secondly, BPS 17 the government is paying 25000 to 35000 max for engineers, and all other professions but doctors are taking round about 50000. So, government is compansating your overtime and all other things.
    thirdly, they are saying that induct us in grade BPS 18 which is impossible bcoz if govt. accept your demands then all other profession will stand up.
    only, what they required is proper promotion system not more than this. But the way they have adopted is totally incorrect.they all bloody killers. Money is not as imp than anybody's life

  5. No young doctor is earning 50k or anything near it. And when SSP's can get inducted into grade 18, so can the doctors.
    And the doctors did not let anybody's life put to stake except when the government started raiding hospitals and took charge. There on, it was the government's responsibility.

  6. Ok see engineers are inducted in grade 17 its mean they should also stand up come on the road. this is totally unfair..before government rated they were on the strike only emergency were opened. i think govt had done a good job.

  7. Ok I think you're having trouble understanding (and quite frankly typing) simple English.
    Before raids: all services active, only OPD doors closed, OPD patients treated in emergency.
    After raids: all services suffering.
    And you say govt did a good job.
    Secondly, doctors have the longest qualification period and the highest number of working hours. If there's any comparable job, they're welcome to protest.

  8. In whatever way I see your blog, the only word that comes in my mind is “whining”. Just to keep things short, I have a few questions, which I hope you won’t mind answering.
    1. Not long ago, you made a very tough decision to enter this profession. Since you did O and A levels before that, so I am supposing that selection of career was very much of an option to you and not a necessity. Did you ever try to analyze the conditions faced by doctors at that time? Were they any good compared to what you are facing today? I’ll answer that one for you, No you didn’t because apparently you don’t realize that the conditions for technical services sector in Pakistan has always been an issue. And this is not a case for doctors alone, same problems are for the engineers as well. So, considering the conditions, did any one force you to select medical career?
    2. About the taxes spent on doctors, I can gladly accept that the amount of government revenue spent on medical facilities is decreasing, but this appears a bit farfetched to call it “Hardly any money is spent on doctors in reality”. Government medical college students have their education subsidized in the same way as their engineering counter parts. How would you like to balance that one out for all technical services? Today its doctors, it won’t take long for engineers to rise if doctors get whatever they are asking for. Do you really think this is a solution for betterment of the society as a whole?
    3. Expectation of Service structure from the current government… LOL... No question here.
    4. Your comparison of pays with other countries? Where did you get those totally incorrect salary values? Just in case, for some unexplainable reason, I accept your posted values, an engineer who earns PKR 20,000 in Pakistan earns 4,500 Saudi Riyals, so a doctor who earns 4,000 Saudi Riyals should earn _____ in Pakistan. Ratio and Proportion…
    5. Tell me honestly, do you really think your strike helped any single entity during the past fortnight? I highly doubt it. “Before raids: all services active, only OPD doors closed, OPD patients treated in emergency.” Thank God Pakistan is an over developed nation with more emergency wards than the patients and every patient is treated there even before he gets sick… Rest assured Ahmad, this is not the case. An already full emergency ward gets even more jam-packed with not so-serious-cases. What about an emergency case that needs to be treated but does not get due attention? Do not tell me this is not the case since I personally know an affected person.
    6. A doctor who earned PKR 15,000 about 15 years back was more than happy with it, but not anymore. Why? Inflation. The purchasing power of technical service providers has decreased to such an extent that it’s impossible for them to live with such low salaries. Does that mean they should start asking for increased pays? Would it help them in a longer run? Would they still be satisfied after 15 years, keeping in view the current rate of inflation?

  9. 1. This is the dumbest question people come up with and in fact concedes with the view of the doctors. If even you think that conditions are so hostile, do you believe nobody should enter the medical profession?
    2. The money spent on medical students. Do you know that the hostel for female doctors and students in Jinnah Hospital have such degree of congestion that in some bi-seaters, there are six girls! And before you compare doctors with any other profession, compare the qualification duration and number of working hours.
    3. Yes, this government's promise last year. https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s720x720/417459_418725264833094_753408282_n.jpg
    4. 4000 SAR is the lowest salary for an MBBS doctor in KSA. Again, compare qualification time and duration of working hours.
    5. Yes, the government has learnt that doctors cannot be suppressed by use of force. And no, patients were not being neglected in the emergencies, even if you say so.
    6. No, and once again, doctors are not asking for a direct increase in salary. They are asking for a service structure where they have some sort of future to look up to, even if the current salaries are maintained.

  10. 1. And that, my friend, was the dumbest reply to a proclaimed dumb question (and that too expected, considering the way this article was written). No one is automatically supposing that medical is a hostile profession till you people help us create that image. About who should be entering this field…? Simple enough, those people who do not regret their decision of serving the nation, which quite frankly removes the lot of you.
    2. Ok. Let’s make things clear, in the next point you highlighted the fact that doctors are only asking for a service structure, yet here you complain about the difficult living conditions of the students. Believe me I can point out 3 points for every single point of yours regarding the difficulties people of some other fields are facing. I compared all your statistics against my own discipline. 4 years + at least 6 months of internship considered mandatory, check. Working at least 12+ hours a day for a minimum of 10 days a month, check. Salary of Rs. 20,000/month paid 2 to 2.5 months late, check. Absolute no chance of working private in the later stages of career, partially check (since not only is it quite difficult, it also requires a huge amount of investment).
    3. Government promises and your expectations. I am sure your government solved all other problems as per schedule. Electricity? High prices? Corruption? So once again, LOL.
    4. Ahmad, I was also quoting the lowest salary of engineers, since that was the basic threshold set by you in your article. Regarding your working hours and qualification duration, what link does it have in this point (btw working hours are all same too)? I just compared the salaries I think, you don't have to get senti here:-P.
    5. Government has LEARNT…… that word was enough for me to LOL again, you people won’t learn, will you? Just pray the Supreme Court takes an action against the government officials. And patients being neglected, my friend I have a close friend of mine (who was neglected for quite some time and was ultimately hurried to another hospital) as an example. But since you are a doctor and you know better, I’ll give you a point of self-confidence here.
    6. Are you kidding me? Seriously Ahmad, that point of yours either makes me look like a total ignorant, or you. But, since you had the ability to come up with this huge wall of text with so much emphasis on the earnings of doctors in other countries, a demand of equality against other professions(“Wonderful prospects there, you see. If there's one thing the doctors are fighting for, it's equality. Equality with other professions of this country, if not any special treatment” against which you can review point 4) and the lack of spending on doctors while telling me here that all you are asking for is a service structure, I consider myself as that. Still, considering whatever you are asking for(as I have lost you here), the demands of doctors as far as my understanding is concerned, seems a bit unfair to me. But that might be just me, no offense intended.

  11. After a thorough reading of your comment, I have reached the conclusion that you really aren't able to understand everything I'm trying to say. You're making parallel arguments about your field and others. That's not the debate.
    Rest-assured, the demands of doctors are just. I guess we can agree to disagree on that.