Drastic changes to health reforms law proposed again

Updated June 29, 2020

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The amendment gives power to the government to de-notify MTIs and revert to the old system where health department could run them. — File photo
The amendment gives power to the government to de-notify MTIs and revert to the old system where health department could run them. — File photo

PESHAWAR: Drastic changes has been proposed once again to Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015 to authorise the government to change Boards of Governors of the hospitals, establish appellate tribunal to take up legal challenges speedily and ensure resolution to issues of pensions of civil servants retiring from service.

Sources said that a large number of retired people were not getting their pensions because no department would take responsibility, therefore, the amendment clarified as to who was responsible and where the money would come from for the pensions.

The MTIRA was enforced in 2015 to grant financial and administrative powers to the teaching hospitals to improve patients’ care and do away with political interference in their affairs. Many issues have cropped up since the enforcement of the law in the MTI-covered hospitals for which several amendments have been incorporated in the law from time to time.

Under draft amended law, govt can change BoG of teaching hospitals

The latest amendments were proposed after issues were created by all-powerful chairpersons of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the teaching hospitals established under the MTIRA 2015 to run the hospitals free of government’s control.

Despite emergence of irregularities in few MTI-covered hospitals, the government failed to take corrective measures because it was not authorised under the law to remove the BoG chairpersons.

In each of the MTIs, seven-member BoG takes all the decisions including appointments of candidates on top positions.

Likewise, the BoG members, who were appointed by search and nomination council for three years, can be removed by the chief minister anytime.

The same procedure will be adopted to undo Policy Board, which was created in 2018 through an amendment incorporated in MTIRA 2015.

The Policy Board, which has been set up by search and nomination council, will now be removed by the government anytime it wants. The board was created to give uniform policy to all the MTIs in the province, according to government’s vision.

The amendments are also meant to ensure that the civil servants, who have become institutional employees by virtue of now repealed 2002 Ordinance, get pensions while the intuitional employees, who were hired from the market, would be entitled to central provident fund (CPF) only.

The amendment also gives power to the government to de-notify MTIs and revert to the old system where health department could run them.

The Board of Arbitration created in 2018 has been replaced with Appellate Tribunal in the proposed law. Prior to this, the aggrieved employees had the option to challenge the decision of Board of Arbitration in high court. Now they can move the Supreme Court instead to avoid longevity of litigations and secure judgments in faster way.

However, the officials said that it was planned previously that the governor would promulgate an ordinance to make the new amendments part of the MTIRA because the provincial assembly was not in the session. Now, the assembly session is in progress and the amended law can be tabled before it when debate on budget completes.

They said that if the session was prorogued, then the governor might issue an ordinance because the architects of the MTIRA wanted its immediate implementation to get rid of some BoGs that were creating issues for the government.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020