LAHORE: The Punjab cabinet has approved a new pay package for the doctors serving in the state-run hospitals.
The total impact of the raise will amount to Rs17 billion annually. Under the initiative, the doctors in Punjab will draw salaries equal to those serving in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The package would be implemented from July 1, an official told Dawn. He said the biggest beneficiary would be the doctors belonging to the general cadre who are serving as medical officers/women medical officers and additional principal medical officers as they outnumber their other senior and junior colleagues in the government hospitals.
Salaries for all cadres will be equivalent to those in KP
Similarly, the doctors serving in BS-17 and 18 in various cadres would also get hefty raise under the new pay package. The package draft was finalised and recommended by a committee headed by an additional chief secretary and sent to the government for final consideration, he said.
The members included secretaries of finance, services & general administration, law, specialized healthcare & medical education, and the primary & secondary healthcare departments.
Similarly, medical teachers including Prof Dr Javed Gardezi, Children Hospital Lahore Dean Prof Dr Masood Sadiq, Services Institute of Medical Sciences Principal Prof Dr Mahmood Ayaz and representatives of the Young Doctors Association, Punjab were also on the committee.
The committee was constituted two months ago to deliberate on the matter and submit recommendations before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
According to the documents (a copy is available with Dawn), the pay package has been approved for the 37,474 doctors (19,532 of the SH&ME and 17,942 of P&SHC) serving in the government hospitals of the province.
While sharing background of the development, the official said, the committee had come up with three pay packages for the doctors -- Rs40 billion, Rs29 billion and Rs26 billion. During hearing of the case, the health authorities had assured the Supreme Court that it would offer a substantial relief to the medics in the form of handsome pay raise. He said the health minister, however, rejected all the three proposals and directed the authorities to further rationalise the scheme keeping in view the financial issues.
The teaching cadre doctors who were part of the committee had preferred the second pay package amounting to Rs29 billion. It was drafted and recommended by them to the committee, declaring it the most reasonable proposal.
On finding the health minister reluctant, the committee further rationalised it to Rs17 billion when it got instructions that the pay package must be in accordance with what the PTI government had been offering in KP, he said. The committee later finalised and proposed the same which was approved by the Punjab cabinet, the official said.
He said the doctors serving in BS-17 and 18 would be the major beneficiary. The approved package would be submitted to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar in the next hearing of the case.
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2019