LAHORE: The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance 2019 envisaging privatisation of ‘major’ state-run hospitals has been promulgated.
The ordinance drafted on the pattern of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s MTI Act was promulgated after the Punjab governor signed it on Monday with the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to the MTI Ordinance, the government hospitals shall be run by fully empowered Board of Governors (BoGs) which shall consist of all members from the private sector.
“The BoGs shall also have powers for the appointment of admin officials on key slots and appointment of senior faculty members. The post of principal shall be converted into Dean who shall be appointed by the BoG for a period of five years,” it says.
Medical teaching institutions Ord promulgated in Punjab
Similarly, the document says, there shall be a Management Committee for each hospital, consisting of a hospital director, medical director, nursing and finance directors and two members nominated by the BoG.
“Headed by Dean, the Management Committee shall have powers to terminate any and all the employees of the institution in accordance with the rules and regulations framed under the Ordinance.
“The civil servant status of all the government employees shall stand abolished besides no role of the health department in the state-run medical teaching institutions. The employees would be given a choice to either continue to work for the institution in private capacity under the MTI Ordinance. In case, he/she wants to work as civil servant, his/her services will be sent to the disposal of the health department for further posting in any other state-run institution,” it says.
An official said the prime minister during Monday’s meeting in Lahore admonished Punjab Health Minister Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid for delay in the enforcement of the MTI Act. He said the health minister informed the premier that the MTI bill could not be tabled in the provincial assembly due to expected agitation of the opposition political parties.
The official said Imran Khan expressed his displeasure over the state of healthcare in the government hospitals of Punjab and gave a 15-day deadline to the minister to bring about improvements. Consequently, the ordinance was promulgated without further delay, said the official.
He said the ordinance would be implemented on the government hospitals run by the Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department, Punjab. Initially, it was planned to be enforced on 23 hospitals attached to the five government medical universities – the King Edward Medical University, the Fatima Jinnah Medical University, the Faisalabad Medical University, the Nishtar Medical University and the Rawalpindi Medical University.
Later, the decision was reviewed in the next meetings and the Punjab government mulled its enforcement in selected hospitals. The health authorities, the official said, discussed the issue in detail and decided to prepare the final list of hospitals in the next few days.
He said the MTI Ordinance would be run parallel to the Punjab Medical and Health Institutions (PM&HI) Act 2003.
At present, almost all the teaching hospitals of the SH&MED Punjab are functioning under the Board of Managements (BoMs) formed under the PMHI Act 2003. After the enforcement of the new ordinance, the BoGs would be established to run the government hospitals.
The ordinance further says, “the government shall notify new Provincial Policy Board to oversee and supervise the functions of the medical teaching institutions. The Provincial Policy Board shall be the top body in the newly launched MTI Ordinance 2019 followed by the Search & Nomination Committee, Board of Governors and Management Committee.
“A Search and Nomination Committee shall recommend list of members of the Provincial Policy Board to the Punjab government for appointment of each member for a period of three years. The member of the board shall be eligible for re-appointment for one more term while the Policy Board shall have a chairperson who shall be elected in the manner as prescribed.”
Each institution would have a BoG that “shall have overall superintendence and control over the functions and administration of a medical teaching institution.”
The chief minister would constitute and notify a search and nomination committee for recommendations of persons from the private sector suitable to be appointed as members of the Board and members of the Policy Board. “The committee shall consist of minister for health (chairman) and additional chief secretary Punjab as vice chairman.”
The members shall include secretary to the specialized healthcare and medical education department, vice chancellor of the university, a philanthropist, a retired senior person from medical profession and a representative of civil society.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2019