Committee to consider doctors’ grievances: Govt to scrap essential services clause from draft law
PESHAWAR, Feb 23: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has agreed to delete the clause of essential health services from the proposed law and formed a high-level committee to look into the grievances of doctors, paramedics, nurses, clerical and class IV staff of public sector hospitals.
Associate professor Dr Musa Kalim, provincial president of the Health Employees Coordination Council (Heco) who led the delegation that met health minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah and information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, told Dawn that the government had agreed in principle to delete the clause of essential health service from the posed law aimed at improving health delivery before its presentation in the provincial assembly.
The law was draconian and had caused unrest among health employees who already were performing essential services and were present in hospitals during Eids, Muaharram and other such occasions where other government employees enjoyed vocations, he said.
A seven-member committee will represent Heco in the matters relating to formulation of the proposed law, he said. He said they were ready to accept the essential services law provided they were extended facilities like army and security agencies.
The meeting, which took place on Friday in the aftermath of a series of strikes by medics for four consecutive days bringing to halt the Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex last week, also decided that the government would take on board the committee to announce service structure for doctors, nurses, clerks and class IV employees to strengthen healthcare system, he said.
Dr Kalim said that the delegation urged the government to provide facilities to the patients on the pattern of Punjab diagnostic procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT (computerised tomography) scan were provided free of cost to the patients. Not only that but admitted patients also received two free breakfasts everyday, he said.
He said that the government had also been requested to abandon the plan of setting up Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical College (ZABMC) in a building in Provincial Health Service Academy which had primarily been built for the Postgraduate Paramedical Institute. He said that educating paramedics was extremely important to ensure that people received treatment in line with modern methods and techniques.
The government, he said, should hire a building to house the ZABMC, like the Khyber Girls Medical College and other government departments and spare the building to ensure that paramedics got education. Presently only doctors receive professional allowance and the government agreed to consider it for other employees also, he said.
A press release meanwhile said that secretary health department Mohammad Ishfaq Khan, deputy commissioner Peshawar Mohammad Javid Marwat, Heco central president Prof Mustafa Iqbal, Sirajuddin Burki, Roidar Shah, Jauhar Ali, Dr Liaqat Ali, Mujahid Azam and others attended the Friday’s meeting.
It said that they were concerned about the patients’ welfare and serving them with devotion but the facilities they received didn’t commensurate with their work.