Serious questions are being raised over the induction of doctors and paramedical staff at Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) as applicants expressed fear that merit would not be the sole criteria for appointments.
RIC has been set up at Rawal Road at a cost of Rs2.6 billion and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has shown interest in inaugurating the hospital on August 14.
Last week, a committee conducted interviews for the appointment of doctors, paramedics and other staff for the hospital. About 285 employees are to be recruited for the 270-bed RIC.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Muhammad Afzal, who applied for a lab technician post, said he was never called for interview despite having high marks and relevant experience.
After learning that interviews were being carried out, he went to the hospital and talked to Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Shoaib Khan. The MS informed him that they only called candidates for interviews if they seemed eligible, “without explaining the merit and requirements”.
Meanwhile, a young doctor who had applied for the post of medical officer said there was no cardiologist in the interview panel, despite the fact that the hospital was a cardiology institute.
The doctor, requesting anonymity, said the panelists included Rawalpindi Commissioner Imdadullah Bosal as chairman, MS Dr Khan, Professor of Medicine Dr Umer, Rawalpindi Health Director Dr Zaffar Iqbal Gondal and an additional secretary from the health department.
Senior doctors told The Express Tribune that it would have been better to place doctors with expertise in the relevant fields on the interview panel.
For lab assistants and technicians, a pathologist should be there, while X-ray technicians should be interviewed by a radiologist as they would be better equipped to assess a candidate, they said.
Commissioner Bosal said the appointments had not been finalised yet as a board constituted by the health department would finalise the appointments.
He said all the 285 posts had not been advertised saying there was no wrong done in the process of recruitment and no irregularity in appointments would be tolerated.
Similarly, MS Dr Khan ruled out chances of any wrong done to the candidates and said all efforts had been made to keep the process transparent as directed by the Punjab chief minister.
On the absence of a cardiologist from the panel, the MS said there was only one professor of cardiology available with the Rawalpindi Medical College, Dr Fiaz, who himself had applied for a professorial post at RIC.
Dr Khan said normally the panel for BPS-1 to 16 recruitments is headed by the MS with experts from the hospital, but in case of RIC, the panel is headed by the commissioner and experts had been invited from other hospitals to maintain transparency.
Giving the example of appointments of clerks and other office staff, the MS said 125 persons applied but only 16 passed the typing test, only seven of whom were selected after the interview.
He said the panel had rejected candidates who tried to use links with high-ups and that they were the ones campaigning to undermine the transparent recruitment process.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.
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