RAWALPINDI: Like the other cities of Punjab, the Young Doctor’s Association’s (YDA’s) strike in Rawalpindi continued on Friday following the failure of negotiations with the government and administration and non-acceptance of their three major demands. The persistent strike in OPDs (Outdoor Patients Department) of all the three allied hospitals in Rawalpindi has landed the patients in perpetual agony. In the third phase of the strike, the YDA have stalled the process of medical check-up of patients in the OPD. In the wake of lacklustre interest by the government, the YDA has announced to step up the protest movement from December 19. Under this announcement the biggest ever long march will be staged in Lahore after sit-ins all over the Punjab. The YDA is in the streets for the last several months following the closure of all avenues leading to a negotiated settlement of their three major demands including central induction policy, regularisation of adhoc doctors and immediate completion of incomplete projects. The continuous shutdown of the Outdoor Patient Departments (OPDs) in the three allied hospitals of Rawalpindi including, Benazir Bhutto, Holy Family and the District Headquarters (DHQ) has jeopardised the lives of over 10 thousand patients who come to these hospitals for their treatment on a daily basis. The YDA Punjab Chairman, Dr Haider, told Daily Times that the appointment of specialists and the day to day declining strength of doctors had reached alarming proportions. This was one among our three major demands that ongoing health projects in Punjab be completed as soon as possible. Giving the details of projects which are being delayed for the last several years he said they included construction of an emergency ward at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, a new urology hospital in Rawalpindi, a mother and child care hospital on Asghar Mall Road in Rawalpindi, the construction of a surgical tower in Mayo Hospital in Lahore, the construction of a radiology department at a surgical hospital Lahore, a state of the art dental hospital in Jubilee Town and the extension of the capacity of beds to 1750 at Nishtar Hospital. Not only the doctors’ fraternity is being affected due to the non-completion of these projects but millions of patients are also suffering heavily in Punjab. He said no security system was in place at the government hospitals which had aggravated the sense of insecurity among doctors too. “These are our just demands and the government should take steps to meet these demands,” he said. He underlined that the government should on its own take measures to resolve these problems. But on the other hand government was paying no heed to the protest of the doctors. “We will now announce a new strategy if the demands are not met,” he said.