LAHORE: Aiming at ending any chances of a monopoly and blackmailing by medics to accommodate blue-eyed candidates, the health department has, for the first time, introduced a central induction policy for postgraduate training at teaching institutions across the province.

Next induction of Postgraduate (PG) Trainees in FCPS Part-I will be made through “a merit determination formula” instead of interviews showing “zero tolerance towards interference of mafia”.

For the purpose the department has established a Central Postgraduate Placement Cell/Board to initiate the process of inductions, an official privy to the development told Dawn.

In a related development, the health department has also banned the induction of honorary postgraduates, categorically declaring that all future inductions will be “absolutely paid”. In order to meet the growing demand of PG trainees, the authorities planned to soon request the Punjab government to create 1,200 more slots.

It has also announced to pay a stipend to all 1,100 unpaid PGs currently working in state-run hospitals in Punjab. Of them, Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) Lahore is leading with over 80 PGs not being paid, he added. Interestingly, many of them were receiving training on honorary basis for a year and the principal of the SIMS has turned a deaf year to their repeated requests.

The official said the new policy was introduced after a series of meetings among vice chancellors of medical universities and principals of colleges besides other stakeholders, including representatives of medical associations. The Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department had organised the meetings.

One of the major factors behind this development was that deserving candidates were being ignored and a mafia was accommodating ‘blue-eyed’ applicants by pressurising heads of institutes.

According to documents related to the development, there will be a merit determination formula for shortlisting candidates: 50 marks (academic) and 35 (central exam) = 85 marks.

The health department will highlight the total number of PG slots in each institute as per need. Under the new policy, every institute shall forward details of vacant slots to the department. One advertisement shall be published to seek applications. Each candidate requiring induction must mention the choice of institute and specialty he/she wishes to take up.

After the applications are shortlisted, the Central PG Placement Cell/Board shall upload details about respective institutes and specialties to start PG’s training.

The senior official said every candidate shall have to join his/her place of induction for training in accordance with the new merit formula whether his/her institute falls in south Punjab or the provincial capital. This policy will prove to be a milestone in providing qualified medics in far-flung districts of the province, he added.

Earlier, he said, teaching institutes of the provincial capital and other major districts were the foremost choice of trainees, and most of them would get inducted by ‘any means’. Like in general medicine alone at the Mayo Hospital over 180 PG trainees were ‘enrolled’ against 120 slots.

The situation was similar in all major teaching institutions of Lahore and was getting worse due to merit violation.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2016

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