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Doctors leaving govt jobs to join international organisations

Updated May 15, 2016

PESHAWAR: More and more doctors, especially those in the management cadre, are leaving the provincial health department for jobs abroad or with international organisations over bleak chances of promotion home, say sources.

Recently, four such medics signed job contracts with Saudi-based hospitals for better salary and fringe benefits, sources told Dawn.

The government had bifurcated the management and general cadre in January 2009 with a view to appoint specialists to management positions in health department and districts for better utilisation of resources.

The plan, however, didn’t work due to a lack of incentives for the highly-qualified and experienced employees.

The sources said many senior doctors from the management cadre had left for international organisations for monetary benefits and better chances of exposure and career growth despite a keen desire to serve the department.

They said many doctors, who were on deputation with UN and other international organisation, opted to resign from their health department jobs when they were asked to report back.

The sources said the medics, who joined international organisations, received better salary and technical knowhow on the basis of which they got senior positions, but those who preferred to stay in the health department, felt on the receiving end.

They said a woman doctor working in the health department for 20 years would be joined by her daughter to be appointed soon as medical officer in the same grade in which her mother was.

The sources said such a situation had caused lethargy and demotivation among doctors.

They said an acute shortage on the management side was felt but there was no incentives and service career for doctors.

The sources said many doctors retired in the same grade in which they’re posted.

According to them, around 350 management cadre doctors, who worked on managerial positions like district health officers, directors, deputy directors, agency surgeons and project managers, have been awaiting promotion for decades but on the contrary, others coming as section officers are promoted trough a smooth system.

The sources said district healthcare system desperately required better trained health administrators to manage facilities.

They said four management posts of BPS-20, 43 of BPS-19 and 50 of BPS-18 had been lying vacant at the health department for several years though dozens of doctors awaited promotions.

The sources said a summary for the promotion of management cadre doctors had been sent to the government in September last year but the response to it was still awaited.

They said under the rules, 24 of those posts were to be filled through promotions and the rest through the public service commission.

The sources said junior doctors worked on senior positions without promotion to vacant posts and thus, causing brain drain from the department.

They said many doctors with management education from UK, Australia and Germany were weighing options to get jobs in international organisations.

The sources said the time-scale promotions had been enforced in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh, which introduced the management cadre after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is bereft of any formula.

They said the government had obtained undertakings from doctors that they wouldn’t do private practice and therefore, they’re totally dependent on salary.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2016