ISLAMABAD: Members of a parliamentary panel have opined that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) should be separated from the university. Under existing legislation, the health facility would become a teaching hospital tied to Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University.
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat met on Friday under the chair of Rana Hayat Khan to discuss the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad (Amendment) Bill 2014, moved by Member National Assembly Tahir Iqbal.
The amendment bill, which seeks the separation of Pims from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU), has been pending approval by parliament since 2014.
Pims employees staged a strike on August 22 and boycotted outpatient departments at the hospital over delays in the passage of the bill, leaving hundreds of patients to suffer without treatment.
The employees ended the strike after Capital Admin-istration and Development Division Minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry assured them that the bill would sail through parliament.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal said that the Pims was a public institution and bodies such as the College of Medical Technology, the nursing college, and the Children Hospital at the facility were gifts from the Japanese government. He disapproved of transferring such assets to the SZAMBU — an autonomous corporate body.
He said that perks and privileges of around 4,000 employees of the hospital, who did not opt for the university, have been abolished and withdrawn.
“Poor patients are being deprived of free treatment as Pims has become an autonomous body and its performance has deteriorated since the establishment of the university,” he claimed.
The member also claimed that “nowhere in the world a hospital is upgraded to a university. It is a unique example that Pims has been upgraded to a university”.
He proposed that the pending bill be passed in the best interest of employees and patients.
Chaudhry said he was also facing administrative problems to address issues that were worsening day-by-day due to the autonomous status of Pims.
“I visited four wards. None of them had a functional toilet. It’s the need of the time to separate Pims from the varsity because the university is meant for research and academic purposes, while the hospital is for patient care,” he said.
After a detailed discussion, the bill was referred to a sub-committee that will present a detailed report during the next meeting.
The sub-committee has four members — PTI MNAs Asad Umar and Nafeesa Khattak, and PML-N MNAs Marriyum Aurangzeb and Qamar Sultan. The report is expected to take two weeks to complete.
Meanwhile, the committee also discussed complaints of corruption at Polyclinic and recommended strict action against officials involved in dishonest practices.
The CADD minister informed the committee that oxygen kits were purchased at inflated prices and the hospital administration has now been directed to purchase the gas kits through Pims and not its previous contractors.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.