The General Cadre Doctors Association (GCDA) has urged the government to quickly increase the number of senior seats and promote its members to the next grade, as agreed in a deal between the Health Department and doctors last year.
Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, which was also attended by government representatives, GCDA Punjab President Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh said that the implementation of all points of the service structure agreement related to general cadre doctors should be prioritised. He said that the new seats must be notified so that GCDA members could be promoted from grade 19 to 20, from grade 18 to 19, and from grade 17 to 18, in that order.
He said that the GCDA, the Pakistan Medical Association and the Young Doctors Association had reached the so-called ‘splash agreement’ for promotions and sent it to the Health Department and this should be notified.
The service structure agreement also outlined the creation of a new management cadre for doctors. Dr Sheikh said that at present, all health administration duties were being done by general cadre doctors, since the management cadre had not been set up. He said the upgrade of the posts of tehsil headquarters hospital medical superintendent, district headquarters hospital MS, and executive district officer (health) should be dropped till the administrative cadre is set up.
He expressed concern about the nomination of focal persons at teaching hospitals, saying this should be done after the service structure agreement is fully implemented. He said that the Institute of Public Health should be upgraded and its master’s in public health degree should be recognised.
Dr Sheikh said general cadre doctors made up the backbone of the health care system, with 16,000 all over the Punjab. He said principal medical officers and assistant principal medical officers were assets whose experience should help the Health Department improve efficiency.
Special Health Sectary Babar Hayat Tarar said that the focal persons were appointed to help the doctors and they were not senior to the medical superintendents. He said the Health Department was making a serious effort to implement the service structure agreement. He added that the department was open to suggestions from general cadre doctors.
Khawaja Salman Rafique, who served as the chief minister’s special assistant on health care in the previous government, said that the PML-N trusted the doctors and believed in giving them greater powers.
PMA President (elect) Punjab Maher Muhammad Iqbal, GCDA Joint Secretary Dr Rana Imtiaz and Said Mitha Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Haq Nawaz Bharwana also attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.