The General Cadre Doctors Association (GCDA) has urged the government to promote general physicians who have been working in the same grade in public hospitals for 15-20 years before it considers making changes to the service structure, as demanded by the Young Doctors Association.
Dr Masood Sheikh, the GCDA president and chairman of the Pakistan Medical Society, said that it would be unfair for new medical officers to be inducted in grade 18 when general cadre doctors with many years of service were still stuck in grade 17. He was addressing a GCDA meeting here.
He said that there was a service structure for doctors, but it had not been implemented in letter and spirit. He said 13,000 general cadre doctors had been waiting for their promotions for 16-20 years. He said that the government should give raises proportional to grades, rather than just announce more perks and privileges for new doctors.
Dr Sheikh said that the GCDA had formed a committee to evaluate the concerns of general cadre doctors regarding the service structure. The committee, which includes Dr Sheikh, Dr Haq Nawaz Bharwana, Dr Arif Iftikhar, Dr Nazeer Chohan, Dr Rana Rafique, Dr Riaz, Dr Amir, Dr Asad Shah, Dr Alia and Dr Fauzia, raised four major points.
First, Dr Sheikh said, the committee called for “real” timescale promotions for general cadre doctors. He said that like in other government jobs, doctors should get promoted to grade 18 after seven years, grade 19 after 12 years and grade 20 after 17 years in service. Any held-up promotions should be granted immediately. A doctor who had worked for 12 years in grades 17 and 18 should be promoted to grade 19.
Dr Sheikh said until general cadre doctors got their due promotions to the next scale, they would not accept any changes to the service structure. “Already-serving general cadre doctors should be promoted ... and later on a new formula can be made for all of them,” he said
The second demand of general cadre doctors, said Dr Sheikh, was a proportionate increase in the number of seats in grades 18 to 20. He said several medical colleges and institutions had been set up in the last 5-10 years in which there were hundreds of new grade 17 posts. He said there had been no increase in the number of seats in grades 18-20. He said these seats needed to be created so general cadre doctors could be promoted. He said that the third demand was an update of the seniority list. He said several doctors had been promoted to assistant professor and senior registrar in recent weeks, while many had shifted to the specialist cadre, leaving several seats vacant. He said these seats should be excluded from the seniority list for general cadre doctors.
Finally, Dr Sheikh said, the GCDA demanded a formula for promotion revising the proportion of seniors jobs to junior jobs. Currently, the formula is 50:34:15:1, meaning for every grade 20 seat, there are 15 grade 19 seats, 34 grade 18 seats and 50 grade 17 seats. The GCDA committee proposed a new ratio of 40:30:25:5.
Dr Sheikh said that there were short-term, medium-term and long-term measures the government could take to resolve doctors’ concerns about the service structure. In the short-term, it should grant overdue promotions, update the seniority list and alter the promotion formula.
The medium-term steps would include enhancement of pay and allowances, while long-term measures would include construction of residential colonies next to teaching hospitals.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.