Fulfilling a longstanding demand of protesting doctors, President Asif Ali Zardari promulgated a new ordinance on Wednesday, paving the way for legal sanction to renew career structures and incentives for medical professionals while retaining their status as public servants.
The ordinance, titled “Career Structure for Health Personnel” (CSHP) 2011 for doctors and paramedical staff, will address the issues of service structure, regularisation of contracts and salaries. The ordinance will come into force retrospectively from July 2011.
Presidential Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar told reporters that the ordinance was applicable to doctors under the federal government’s domain. However, he added that provinces could also adopt it as a model since health has now been devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment.
“The new career structure has been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and on the basis of unanimous consensus of the medical community and that is what makes it unique,” Babar said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Sajid Abbasi, president Young Doctors Association at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, while welcoming the issuance of ordinance said they are going to convene a central executive committee meeting to decide whether to call off the ongoing strike and protest or not.
The ordinance is applicable to all health personnel serving in federal health institutions and related organisations under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It will come into force immediately and will be deemed to have taken into effect from July 1, 2011.
The new legislation envisages replacing the current Basic Pay Scale System (BPS-1 to 22) with the Special Health Personnel Pay Scale (HPS-1 to 13) and will be applicable to all categories of medical practitioners including paramedics and support services personnel.
Babar said that entry into this scheme will be optional for existing employees but all fresh appointments will be made under the new scheme.
According to the new ordinance, monetary benefits under the new scheme, including pay, pension, perks and privileges, will exceed those in the current one.
Another notable feature of the new career structure are the health allowances, which currently begin from Rs2,000 a month and will go as high as Rs45,000 a month. The health allowance will be as follows: HPS-1 to 2 (Rs2,000), HPS-3 to 5 (Rs3,000), HPS-6 (Rs4,000), HPS-7 (Rs5,000), HPS-8 (Rs7,000), HPS-9 (Rs10,000), HPS-10 (Rs20,000), HPS-11 (Rs30,000), HPS-12 (Rs40,000) and HPS-13 (Rs45,000).
The new enactment links career growth of health professionals with improvements in professional skills, continuing education, professional experience, research papers and performance laid down by the relevant regulatory bodies from time to time. All matters essentially relating to their service will be governed by the rules prescribed under the CSHP.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.