The Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) has decided to move the court against the government’s decision to roll back autonomy of all the teaching hospitals, sources said on Friday.
The decision was taken during an executive council meeting of PDA held late on Thursday night. PDA Provincial President Dr Shah Sawaar chaired the meeting. The officials expressed concern over the government’s decision and termed it an “act to devastate health institutions in the province”.
PDA spokesperson Dr Dilaram said that the executive council has rejected the move and requested Dr Sawaar to seek help from the court. He said they will request the court to issue a stay order against the decision.
“This is not a plausible decision as the health department cannot operate large health institutions and it should therefore give autonomy to these institutions,” he remarked.
Earlier this month, Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Chief Executive Dr Abdul Hamid Afridi tendered his resignation against the decision, while the chief executives of the remaining three hospitals refused to resign from their posts.
A chief executive, who wished not to be named, told The Express Tribune that they had decided not to resign from their posts as they were fulfilling their duties with commitment and the government had no legal way to terminate their services. He said they would knock on the court’s door in case the government dismissed them.
The four major teaching hospitals in K-P, 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 main objective behind granting autonomy was to strengthen these institutions and improve the quality of healthcare in the province.
“I think all these institutions have improved since they were given autonomous status. However, the health minister and some other officials are interfering in our matters,” said Dr Sawaar, adding that the advisers to the minister were against autonomy and they were misleading him.
He said the PDA had also written a letter to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, requesting him to intervene and “save” these hospitals. However, they are yet to receive a reply from him.
Dr Sawaar added that they were willing to support the government for the betterment of the institutions. However, this decision would only destroy the hospitals and they would never let that happen.
“The fact is that these hospitals were never given true autonomous status in the first place. However, we will keep struggling for the cause until the hospitals are given complete autonomy,” he asserted.
The executive council also expressed concern over the appointment of Dr Noorul Iman as the K-P Special Secretary Health. They said Iman was a professor of medicine who was also serving as a member of KTH Institutional Management Committee and the head of Medical E unit of the Khyber Medical College, which was a clear violation of rules.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.