Doctors have raised concerns about the fairness of the induction process at Services Hospital after it withdrew paid positions from five postgraduate trainees who had been inducted on an honorary basis.
The hospital had inducted 45 honorary postgraduate trainees – meaning they worked without pay in January this year as all its paid trainee seats were filled. But the administration recently issued an order withdrawing the stipends for five of these trainees, leaving some asking how they were being paid in the first place when no paid seats were available.
“This raises serious questions about the role of the Postgraduate Induction Committee’s fairness,” said Services Hospital Young Doctors Association (YDA) President Dr Basharat Gill.
The Express Tribune has copies of two orders issued by Services Hospital. The first announces that six honorary postgraduate trainees would be paid stipends, and the second announcing that five of them would be withdrawn from the paid slots. A paid trainee gets a monthly stipend of Rs42,500.
“We didn’t know for a long time that honorary postgraduate trainees were being paid,” said Dr Gill. “When we found out and raised the issue, their paid training was withdrawn.
If they were not selected for paid positions on merit, they should be forced to pay back the entire stipend that they got from January to May. We also want an explanation as to how these trainees were converted from honorary to paid posts.”
The five postgraduate trainees are Dr Adnan Mohsin, Dr Saba Fatima, Dr Haroon Ayub, Dr Naeem Akbar and Dr Sana Ahmad. The sixth postgraduate trainee, Dr Shahida, who is still being paid, “is from an influential background,” said an official at Services Hospital
Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) Principal Professor Hamid Butt told The Express Tribune that there was a rule under which honorary trainees could be given stipends temporarily, but he was not sure if this had been invoked in this case.
“There are paid seats for trainees at teaching hospitals for which there is budgetary allocation and they are paid for four years. Then there are honorary trainees who work for free. The Rules of Business of our institute say that if a paid trainee doesn’t join for certain reasons, the senior-most honorary trainee working in the same ward is adjusted to that paid slot for as long as the post remains vacant.
This is what may have happened in the case of these five postgraduates,” Dr Butt said, adding that he would consult with the induction committee.
Prof Azizur Rehman, a member of the committee, said: “Whatever we do in the committee we do strictly on merit.” He refused to comment further.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.