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SIMS daily wagers shut OPD over non-payment of dues

Patients and their relatives criticize hospital administration over inaction

Scores of daily-wage employees of the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) shut the Outpatient Department (OPD) of the hospital on Wednesday over the non-payment of their dues.

The daily wagers, who claimed they had not received their dues for the last four months, held a brief sit-in outside the OPD and also marched towards the medical superintendent (MS) office to record their protest.

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The hours-long protest caused serious trouble for patients and their relatives.

“I came from Shahdra for (medical) treatment of my daughter but these people are heartless,” said Muhammad Azeem. His 20-year-old daughter was perched on a bench outside the main gate of the OPD.

“They are not doctors….they are daily wagers, who have blocked the services of this department,” he said while criticizing them.

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He added, “I think it’s the first time that daily wagers have blocked OPD services.”

Another patient, Samina Bibi, a resident of Kasur, who was lying on the floor just a few yards away from the OPD, said she could not afford to visit the hospital again.

“I came here from Kasur and I can’t afford to visit the hospital again. I have no money to bear transportation expenses,” she said dejectedly.

“There is no one to solve our problems. If I go to any other hospital in the city, I will need to hire another rickshaw for which I have no money,” she added.

Most of the protesters were the female janitor staff. But the regular employees of the hospital also joined them to express solidarity.

“They are protesting because they have not been paid for the last four to five months,” said an employee wishing not to be named.

But even the participation of regular employees in the protest could not ruffle a few feathers.

“[The] MS is here but he is not available….an important meeting is going on. If you want to get some treatment you may visit the deputy MS (Protocol) and she will refer you to any other ward for your check up,” the PA to MS was heard suggesting to a female patient.

Interestingly, there was a flock of patients in and outside the office of the deputy MS (Protocol), who was putting her signatures and stamps on different papers.

Several attempts were made to visit the MS, but he was not available for comments.

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