PESHAWAR: The health department has delayed notification about extension in services of more than 700 ad hoc doctors after receiving reports that over 100 of them have not performed their duty and violated the contract, according to sources.
They said that some of those doctors had dual jobs and worked as trainee medical officers (TMOs) in violation of the contract agreement. These medical officers (MOs) were appointed in April last year and their contracts were renewed after every three months.
“Renewal of their contracts is overdue since October 30, but the department is in the process to investigate all the doctors against whom there are complaints of absenteeism from their in-charge officers in many districts,” said official sources.
Officials say contract will be renewed after removal of observations
The health department had recruited 1,122 doctors on contract. Of them, the services of 965 doctors were extended and others were terminated for dual jobs since then.
Dr Naveed Farooq Wazir, the general secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ad hoc Medical Officers Association, told Dawn that that they faced delay in getting salaries.
“We have sent a letter to finance secretary (grievance committee) of the finance department, requesting enhancement of health professional allowance like that of regular medical officers,” he said.
However, the finance department issued a notification in July to enhance the HPA of regular employees only, he said. It was against the previous notification regarding their appointment last year wherein they had been made entitled to all benefits of BPS-17 including HPA, he added.
“We haven’t been given HPA at the new rate despite working in remote districts where housing facilities are scarce due to which doctors are not willing to be posted there,” said Dr Naveed.
He said that since the first appointment, doctors had to get salaries after four months. “We called off strikes in September this year after an assurance by a delegation of the government and opposition parties regarding regularisation of our jobs, but we are still waiting for confirmation of our services,” he added.
Officials at health department said that there were some observations due to which the renewal was facing delay as some doctors were doing dual jobs and it was not allowed in the contract. They said that after removal of the observations, the department would issue directives for six months extension in their jobs.
They said that health department was also in contact with postgraduate medical institute to ascertain information about the TMOs.
Officials said that the department knew that the doctors were needed and presently they performed duty in hard areas.
They also worked hard in Covid-19 management, therefore, renewal of their contract was approved, they said. They added that the doctors were involved in medico-legal examination in hospitals for which they weren’t authorised legally.
They said that in medico-legal examination of dead bodies and firearm injuries required the services of regular doctors, who were available to be sent to the court of law in future. The health department was waiting for the response of the relevant department before proceeding with the notification of doctors, they said.
The ad hoc doctors said that government should investigate violators of agreement but extend the contract of those working in backwards areas of the province. In the past, 5,000 doctors hired on ad hoc basis were regularised, therefore, government should remove the fear of losing jobs from the minds of doctors, who were part and parcel of the healthcare system, they said.
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2021