LAHORE: Doctors in Punjab have said it was almost “impossible” for them to claim the bonuses for healthcare professionals on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak promised by the provincial government.
On May 20, the government of Punjab had approved an honorarium equal to one month’s basic pay for the healthcare providers working directly with coronavirus-infected patients.
A notification by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department in the province stated that doctors, nurses, and paramedics were only eligible for the perk if they completed 96 hours a month in a coronavirus facility with at least 30 beds.
The official notification did not mention what additional benefits would be given to medics who have tested positive and are, therefore, unable to work.
However, medics say the requirement is difficult to meet.
In public hospitals, the Punjab government’s rules mandated that doctors tend to coronavirus patients six hours a day for one week. Then, in order to ensure the doctor has not contracted the virus, they must go into self-quarantine for 14 days.
This brings the total working hours to 84 in a month — much below the 96 required to meet the condition of the perk.
In a press briefing last week, the Punjab chapter of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) said the criteria set by the government to collect additional salaries was unreasonable.
“The bonus will only be given to those who complete 96 hours and have 30 infected patients on their duty roster,” a senior doctors told reporters. “The requirement is impossible to meet.”