Health workers 'relax' OPD boycott at govt hospitals.

KARACHI -- Poor patients across Sindh may finally get partial OPD (out-patient department) and other services at public sector hospitals on Friday after more than a month as health workers represented by Grand Health Alliance (GHA) announced an end to their protest over suspension of Covid-19 risk allowance.

The announcement came following a dialogue of minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, parliamentary health secretary Muhammad Qasim Soomro and health secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah and other officials with GHA representatives at the press club where they were holding a sit-in for over a week.

'The medical staff will resume their duties from tomorrow. But, we have decided to continue with the two-hour token boycott of OPD services as the government has not released a notification over the allowances they have promised to award,' Dr Faizan Memon of GHA told Dawn, adding that GHA representatives and the committee set up by the government would meet this Saturday.

About the talks with the ministers, he said the government had refused to give the health risk allowance as Covid-19 no longer posed a public threat.

'But, the ministers assured us that medical staff in Sindh would rather get health professional and non-practice allowances as being given in other provinces.'

According to a GHA statement, the government has promised that the stipend of postgraduate trainees and house officers would be raised to 105,000 and Rs69,000, respectively, and that other issues including those pertaining to nurses, service structure and time scale would be sorted out.

Sources, however, described the patch-up between the government and GHA as temporary as Young Doctors Association (YDA) shared its concern later in the day over a show-cause notice reportedly issued to a surgeon associated with the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre over a tweet about alleged corruption in the health department.

'This step shows the hypocrisy of the health department. At a time when...

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