Streamlining hospitals: Panel of experts formed to improve healthcare facilities

Members admit pace of progress is sluggish, no meeting convened since notification.


Our Correspondent July 12, 2013
Members admit pace of progress is sluggish, no meeting convened since notification. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The health department has constituted an Expert Working Group to prepare recommendations to improve the quality of healthcare facilities in government-run hospitals.

Interestingly, the notification was issued by the Reforms Implementation Cell (RIC) on June 29, but not a single meeting has taken place since. The group is supposed to present its report by July 25.

According to the notification, the group aims to introduce healthcare and immunisation at Basic Health Units, make district and tehsil headquarters hospitals fully autonomous and empowered, revamp the management of tertiary/teaching hospital and bring forth policies on new medical colleges.

Chaired by Health Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai with secretary of health as its secretary, the group also includes Professor (Retd) Dr Yasmin Rashid, Professor Muhammad Dawood, Dr Ali (Insaaf Doctors Association) Dr Faisal Sultan (Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer), Dr Lubna Hassan, Dr Parveen Azam, Dr Sabina Imran Durrani, Dr Assad Hafeez and Dr Babar Sheikh.

“The detailed terms of references (ToR) will be submitted before the first meeting of the working group and it may establish sub-groups for specified areas or tasks. The working group will then submit its report by July 25,” read the notification.

Talking about the task ahead, the group’s focal person Dr Shabina Raza said no meeting has been held so far as the ToR have not been provided yet. “It is expected that in the next two days, we will meet to discuss the activities of the group and form recommendations for the government,” she said.

Health Special Secretary Dr Akbar Khan also admitted the process is sluggish. “The health minister asked us to submit our reports by July 25, but so far none of the members have been informed,” said Dr Khan.

“When the group completes its initial work, a report will be presented to the relevant authorities and the health department will then be in a position to make laws and acts to achieve the goals. The group will dig out all the faults in the system so that a comprehensive strategy can be formed,” he stressed.

Dr Khan added the government is focusing on improving the healthcare system so that patients could get all facilities in one centre and there is no need to consult doctors in private clinics.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.

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