Faux pas as CPSP withdraws notice hours after suspending four medics

Updated November 14, 2019

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College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan conveyed to the Punjab government that it has suspended postgraduate training of four young medics on serious charges. — INP/File
College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan conveyed to the Punjab government that it has suspended postgraduate training of four young medics on serious charges. — INP/File

LAHORE: The College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) has withdrawn the notifications pertaining to suspension of training of four protesting postgraduate students/medics of Punjab’s state-run teaching hospitals, a few hours after issuing them from its Karachi secretariat, creating a controversy on the entire process.

While issuing notifications on Wednesday morning, the CPSP conveyed to the Punjab government that it has suspended postgraduate training of four young medics on serious charges.

It declared that the medics were found involved in disrupting healthcare services to the patients, using abusive language against professors/supervisors and forcibly stopping other colleagues and employees from performing duties during recent strike at Punjab’s medical institutions.

The college also alleged in the notification that these four PGs were found absent from training/duties without any leave from their respective institutions despite being informed time and again that training is the most important component of the National Residency Programme.

College office-bearer says suspension withdrawn after receipt of LHC order

Action was taken against them by the disciplinary committee of the CPSP which met in Karachi after the specialised healthcare & medical education (SH&ME) department referred their cases to the college.

However, the CPSP’s decision irked the health authorities when they received new written letters of the college a few hours later regarding the withdrawal of its earlier notifications about the PGs.

The four PGs included Grand Health Alliance Chairman Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry from Services Hospital, Lahore, Dr Aqib Javed from Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, Dr Ammar Yousuf of Lahore General Hospital and Dr Bilal Pasha from Mayo Hospital.

“We will take up the matter with the CPSP for withdrawing action against the guilty PGs,” said SH&ME Secretary Momin Agha.

Taking to Dawn, he said the CPSP brought about embarrassment for his department as well as for the college by reviewing its decision just few hours after suspending training of the PGs even knowing the fact that there were sufficient grounds to proceed against them.

“Which decision of the CPSP should be taken legal, either that of suspension of the training or of withdrawing it,” Mr Agha said adding that the SH&ME would use all available options to take the matter to the logical end.

CPSP senior office-bearer (dean academics) Prof Dr Mustafa Arain clarified the confusion saying that the college withdrew notifications in the light of the decision of Justice Jawad Hussan of Lahore High Court who was hearing the petition on [medics] strike.

He said after hearing both sides, the LHC had constituted a larger committee of senior medics and officials of the Punjab government on Nov 7, directing them to resolve the matter and submit a report on Dec 2.

He said the LHC had directed the protesting employees of the teaching hospitals of Punjab to end strike immediately.

The LHC had also restrained the government and other competent authorities from taking any action against protesting employees after issuance of the written order the same day.

As the LHC order was not provided to the CPSP, it suspended training of the four PGs on the recommendations of the health department on Wednesday.

To a question as to why the CPSP awarded major punishment to the four PGs without obtaining written order of the LHC, he admitted that it was a mistake.

However, a few hours after issuance of notifications, the CPSP secretariat in Karachi got copy of the LHC order.

“As soon as the CPSP got the Nov 7 order of the LHC, it immediately withdrew the earlier notifications,” Mr Mustafa said.

In the earlier notifications, the CPSP had declared that as the charges against the four PGs were of serious nature, the college was recommending their cases to the disciplinary committee for further action against them.

“In view of the Lahore High Court order, the notifications issued on Nov 13 by the CPSP may be treated as withdrawn,” reads the second notification of the CPSP.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019