ISLAMABAD: A senate standing committee directed the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to fill vacant positions in public hospitals to improve healthcare facilities in the hospitals. The committee also directed CADD to regularise contractual employees.

The Senate Standing Committee on CADD that met under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Ashok Kumar was briefed about the Federal General Hospital (FGH), Chak Shahzad. The committee unsatisfied over the briefing asked CADD officials to present the report over delays in regularisation of contract employees in the hospital asking to fulfill vacant positions as soon as possible. FGH Director Shahid Ansari informed that there are 376 total healthcare staffers on the strength of the hospital but of them 64 positions are vacant. It’s a 200 bed hospital visited by around 4,000 patients daily. The hospital caters to the needs of the area and gives free of cost treatment to the patients, he said adding 25,000 gynecology patients were treated in a year.

The committee was informed that the hospital was established in 2012 by the People’s Party government and employees that were recruited on a contract basis could not be regularised yet.

Senator Kalsoom Parveen remarked that in Cardiac Centre of Pims too healthcare staffers have been working on a contractual basis for years. They should also be regularised too.

Chairman Committee said there is a shortage of doctors in public hospitals but the vacant positions have still not been filled creating troubles for the patients. Furthermore, budgetary cuts are imposed on facilities for the patients but salary budgets are released without cuts.

FGH officials said an advertisement was given about vacant positions but majority candidates fail to clear Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) examinations. The committee also called the FPSC officials in the next meeting.

The committee members were of the view that the FPSC should give priority to positions in health sector and decided to write to the Chief Justice to take notice of the issues regarding FPSC.

Moreover, during the same committee meeting the senate body while discussing the agenda regarding The Monal and La-Montana Restaurants expressed serious reservations over the negligence of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Administration for not having the record of land being utilised by the both hotels.

The committee directed authorities concerned to issue show cause notices to the Member Planning and Member Estate of CDA for not attending the meeting. The committee was informed that IMC was taking rent of Rs750,000 per month from Monal while taking Rs57,000 per month from La-Montana.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2018.