New rules: ‘Health care commission prohibits registration of FIRs against doctors’

Doctors demand govt ban import of betel nut

Our Correspondent January 25, 2017

KARACHI: Since the passage of Sindh Healthcare Commission Bill by the Sindh Assembly in 2014, FIRs cannot be lodged against doctors directly, said Pakistan Medical Association (PMA).

The five FIRs recently lodged against senior doctors for treating cancer patient are against the law and must be referred to the healthcare commission via the health secretary, claimed PMA office-bearers during a press conference at PMA House on Wednesday.

"All the complainants of patients, hospitals and doctors are supposed to be dealt by the Sindh Healthcare Commission, which has already been established under the chairmanship of Professor Tipu Sultan and nine commissioners from across Sindh," explained PMA central general secretary  Dr Qaisar Sajjad.

There is a committee to deal with cases of malpractice and negligence, he said, adding that no authority is eligible to deal with these cases except the commission. "Such kind of harassment and blackmailing strategies by patients and police will lead us nowhere except [a situation where] doctors stop attending such cases," he pointed out.

According to PMA Karachi president Dr Shoukat Malik, the ratio of success for cancer patients is up to 50% with maximum five-year survival. "The remaining 50% do not respond to surgeries or develop recurrence of cancer. Hence, the situation is unacceptable to the patient and the relatives."

More than 20,000 doctors have left Pakistan due to threats and harassment in the last few years, he pointed out. If it continues, 3,000 more doctors will leave Pakistan in the coming year, he feared. "It's high time we educate people that no single doctor attends to their patients with irresponsibility," he said. Later, Dr Sajjad demanded the government stop importing betel nuts, which has increased the number of oral-cancer patients. He said oral cancer patients may outnumber breast cancer patients.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2017.


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