The Chief Executive of Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) tendered his resignation on Thursday following the provincial government’s intentions to rollback the autonomous status of all teaching hospitals in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The four major teaching hospitals in K-P, namely LRH, Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) and Abottabad Medical Complex (AMC) were given autonomous status in 2002 by Lt Gen (retd) Iftikhar Hussain Shah, the then provincial governor. The decision was aimed to strengthen these institutions, said an official, adding that the government was not satisfied with the performance of these hospitals.
“The chief executives of all teaching hospitals were asked to resign, otherwise they would be terminated in case the government decided to roll back the autonomous status of these institutions,” said the official asking not to be named. He said the chief executives of HMC and KTH had refused to resign.
The Provincial Doctors’ Association (PDA) has expressed displeasure over the government’s decision, and requested K-P Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti to look into the matter.
“PDA has also written a letter to the chief minister requesting him to save these hospitals,” said PDA provincial spokesman Dr Dilaram.
He said the PDA condemned the “experimental approach” of the government, adding that such “try and discard” methods will never strengthen the institutions.
“The law of awarding autonomy to the health institutions was promulgated by elected lawmakers, and if there were flaws in it, it could have been rectified rather than discarded,” said Dilaram.
The spokesman said that the government claims they are not satisfied with the hospitals’ performances. However, he claimed that the government had not given true autonomy to these institutions.
“The health department has clearly violated Section 30 of the ‘Administrative and Financial Delegation of Powers 2001’, approved and notified under the ‘Hospital Autonomy Ordinance 2002’. It has illegally snatched the powers of the Institutional Management Committee of autonomous hospitals in the province through a threatening letter primarily addressed to Hayatabad Medical Complex Chief Executive and copied to all chief executives of the autonomous hospitals,” PDA stated in their letter sent to the chief minister.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Special Secretary Health Dr Noorul Iman told The Express Tribune, “No final decision has been taken regarding the abolition of autonomy yet. However, we are evaluating these institutions and the decision would be based on the assessment report.”
He said the institutions were given autonomy for their improvement, but common people are not satisfied with the performance of these hospitals.
“We are not against autonomy, but we want to see how these hospitals have improved since they were given autonomous status,” said Iman.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.
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