PESHAWAR: The government has re-advertised the post of medical director of Khyber Teaching Hospital after three shortlisted candidates refused to accept the conditions put forward by the Board of Governors for appointment on the position.

The post fell vacant after Prof Rohul Muqim resigned on February 10 allegedly against the interference of the top officials in his work. Prof Muqim, was appointed through a panel of medical professionals and was to complete his three-year term in June this year.

He is known for bringing improvement to the hospital. After the departure of Prof Muqim, a laparoscopic general surgeon at KTH, the BoG appointed an orthopedic surgeon as acting MD but he was also replaced last month.

Shortlisted candidates refuse to accept conditions of BoG

Sources said that delay in the appointment of a permanent MD was hampering work of the hospital and the process to call applications, conduct interviews and shortlist candidates would take few more months.

The post was advertised in March this year and over 15 candidates including Prof Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, Prof Obaidullah and Prof Mustafa Iqbal applied for the post but all of the shortlisted applicants declined to accept the position owing to harsh conditions of the BoG.

Dr Faisal Sultan, the chairman of BoG, told Dawn that advertisement was in progress. He didn’t comment as to why the selection was not made after such a long process of interview.

Officials at KTH said that the post was re-advertised on the directives of court. The court has asked the BoG to advertise the post again when first and second of the shortlisted candidates refused to assume the prestigious position.

“Why the BoG wasted time and put up harsh conditions before the successful candidates when they cleared interviews,” questioned the sources.

The PTI-led government enforced Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015 to improve patients’ care through reforms process. The law has so far been extended to nine hospitals and affiliated medical colleges, which are no longer under the control of health department but are being run by respective BoG.

The BoGs of these hospitals are supposed to appoint dean, MD, hospital director and other top officers to run their institutions in line with the new law.

However, appointments on higher positions have been a big issue for the MTI-covered hospitals, especially the position of MD, who is responsible for taking care of clinical matters and patients’ care as well as putting in place effective structure to make the institution-based practice efficient and serve the patients.

One of the shortlisted candidates, who declined to accept the position of MD, told Dawn that he didn’t join it because of differences over policy matters with BoG.

Another shortlisted candidate said that reason of his refusal to accept the post was the harsh conditions.

Sources said that the BoG was not able to fill the post that was hampering the clinical improvement in the hospital. The institution-based practice has suffered as Prof Muqim, the only professor of surgery, has left it and started his private practice. Not only in KTH, but important positions in other hospitals are also lying vacant.

“The health department has lost control over the MTIs but the respective BoGs don’t find time to set things right. KTH BoG Chairman Dr Faisal Sultan being chief executive officer of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore is too busy to find time for KTH,” said sources.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2019