My name is Dr Khan, I am 26 and a government officer of BPS 17 working in Lahore in the largest hospital of Asia. I stood second in the medical college entrance test, out of 40,000 people. I studied in King Edward Medical College, Lahore’s best. I graduated in 2010.
I have 16 gold medals in 12 subjects. The day I graduated, my father, a respectable medical consultant who also graduated from King Edward’s, as did his own father, advised me to “leave this country” because doctors have no future here. I knew he was right, but like almost all of my friends, I decided to stay; for one thing, I didn’t want to leave my parents.
I enrolled in a postgraduate training programme of surgery and started working. I worked 12 months, my duty hours were 110 hours per week and increased to 150 hours every third week (and there are a total of 168 hours in one week). Some weeks I barely even saw my mother, of whom I am very fond, but no matter.
Until last year I was paid Rs22,340 per month. That is exactly Rs50 for every hour of duty, but that was all right, because my dad is rich and I don’t want for anything. My pocket money is four times my pay, but taking money from your father is humiliating, especially after all the work I put in: I couldn’t even have afforded car fuel for all those trips to the hospital but for my father’s generosity.
Everyone doesn’t have a medical consultant for a father, so last year we called a strike for better pay. Some doctors worked two jobs.
But after the government’s reaction last year (I was fired, together with 4,400 other doctors) I had a change of heart. Frankly, this is what I thought: To hell with Pakistan and its people. I was bitter and I was wrong. In the end, the pay was increased by Rs15,000. As of last month my pay, after taxes, is Rs41,240: that’s around Rs100 per hour.
We still have no defined duty hours, however. And would you believe it that more than 50 percent of the doctors work for free? (That is called an honorary job.) We have no promotion system: out of a total of 34,000 doctors in Punjab only 200 can hope to get Grade 17 to 20. Most never even receive a promotion.
This year we had a strike again. We wore black armbands and demonstrated peacefully. Four meetings were held and in all four meetings government representatives made promises they subsequently broke. After the fifth meeting, and fifth breached pledge, we decided to go on strike.
My heart is broken. I applied for training in America, and because of my academic records and the fact that I had passed three international exams with 99 percentile, I got my H1b work visa from the American Embassy within three days.
Two weeks ago I was offered a job at the Kingsbrook Medical Centre in New York. My initial pay is going to be more than what most industrialists make in a month. My flight is in 17 days, as I write this. I don’t plan to come back.
Out of my class of 310, 159 were girls who got married and did not practice medicine. Only 23 lady doctors are working. Ninety percent of the males have all migrated, I was there at Minar-e-Pakistan with more than 20 friends. Another 18 of us are never coming back. I love Pakistan, but Shahbaz Sharif’s Pakistan doesn’t deserve me.
Source: The News