Govt employees’ share in patients’ fees
THIS is apropos of the news revealing that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is introducing a new formula for the distribution of fee deposited by patients at government hospitals among employees getting health facilities (Jan 28).
Highlighting discrimination, the news says that a laboratory technician, who works in the OPD, receives share in the charges paid by patients for investigations while his colleagues working in wards perform free of cost tests for in-door patients.
Although this is a case of public policy involving systematic discrimination against a class of government employees within an organisation, it reflects a situation on a macro level that calls for stocktaking of the situation from the perspective of constitutional safeguards and a universally accepted theory of employee motivation.
Clause (e) of Article 38 of the Constitution requires the state to reduce disparity in the income and earnings of individuals, including persons in the various classes of service of Pakistan.
Drawing an analogy from the above case of well – paid OPD staff versus the relatively low – paid laboratory technicians and performing extrapolation of this situation on all provincial/federal service organisations bifurcated into revenue – generating (lab technicians) and non – revenue – generating (ODP staff) organisations, we see an all – pervasive discrimination in earnings of persons in ‘various classes of service of Pakistan’.
This has recently grown at an alarming rate under the guise of different allowances, thereby causing a heartburning of epic proportions.
Government employees in some organisations get higher pay just because they generate revenues as opposed to those in non – revenue generation organisations.
Affected by this systematic discrimination in pay, the disgruntled employees may tend to permanently suffer from work – avoidance syndrome. To contain this counterproductive trend, the constitutional safeguard has to take its course.
Moreover, we can also see a silver lining in Adam’s Equity theory which calls for a fair balance to be struck between an employee’s inputs (work etc.) and an employee’s outputs (compensation etc.).
According to the theory, finding this fair balance serves to ensure a strong and productive relationship with the employee.
Motivated government employees, frontline troops in the provision of public goods/services, are a sine qua non for improving service delivery on which hinges good governance and its countless virtues.
M. SHAHID DAYO