KARACHI, May 17: The caretaker government of Sindh on Friday affiliated three teaching hospitals to the newly established Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU).
A notification issued by the provincial health department said: “With the approval of Chief Minister Sindh, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), Karachi, are hereby affiliated as teaching hospitals for training of undergraduates and postgraduates of the JSMU with immediate effect until further orders.”
JSMU Vice Chancellor Prof Tariq Rafi told Dawn that he had received a notification from the provincial government on Friday.
A delightful Prof Rafi said the notification had ended the months-long anxiety among the faculties, 350 students comprising the first batch of the JSMU and their parents, who had been uncertain about the future of the university, which is an upgraded version of the 40-year-old Sindh Medical College (SMC).
“It is great news for all of us. We all have heaved a sigh of relief,” said Prof Rafi.
The saga of the possibility of the affiliation of the JSMU with the JPMC had sparked concerns in the hospital’s hierarchy, which has got a court order to stop the hospital from going to the provincial government in accordance with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
A petitioner from the JPMC on Friday said that he had not yet received the government’s notification and would go by the course of law when got a copy.
The petitioner claimed that the chief minister’s order was in ‘violation of the court’s stay order’.
Of the 350 students, JSMU officials said, some 80 per cent are girls, whose parents would have not allowed them to go somewhere far from the campus for clinical practice given the worsening law and order situation in the city.
The employees of the JPMC, who together with their colleagues in the NICH and the NICVD, have challenged their institutions’ handing over to the provincial government in court, said any order to affiliate the JSMU with any of the three hospitals would be a contempt of the court’s stay order.
However, a JSMU official said since the SMC was affiliated with the JPMC when the court issued a stay order and the JSMU was its upgraded form, the order to affiliate the two institutions was not going against the Sindh High Court order.
Asked whether the JPMC, NICVD and NICH had been taking their staff’s salaries from the provincial government, an NICVD official said that the provincial government was channelling money it actually received from Islamabad to the hospitals.
The JSMU Act 2013 was passed by the Sindh Assembly in February. An earlier Sindh medical university ordinance, which was later amended, clearly stated the JPMC, NICH and NICVD would be affiliated with the university.
Experts said that the measure seemed to have been taken to allay concerns of the faculties who had challenged the hospitals’ devolution in court.
“If the medical college remained without a teaching hospital, it could have provoked a stern action from the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, which could cancel the college’s registration and de-regularise it,” said an expert.
Sources in the NICVD said that they had recently got an order from the provincial health department for the appointment of the hospital’s administrative executive, the second top post in the hierarchy.
They said the appointment was ‘unlawful’ given the fact that the matter relating to the hospital’s status was sub judice. Besides, the institute had its own gazette service rules and regulations that did not allow such a notification.
Moreover, all the required qualifications and experience ‘have been totally ignored’, they said, adding that the matter was fit for the chief justice of the Sindh High Court to take cognizance.