LAHORE: An elderly woman doctor with a 46 years experience of medical practice has approached the Lahore High Court, challenging the functioning of the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) for being unconstitutional.
Dr Sughra Mushtaq, 78, the petitioner, is also a victim of the PHC as its team sealed her clinic in the Garhi Shahu area of Lahore on a complaint of a deceased patient’s husband.
Her counsel, Ijaz Awan, contends, in the petition, that almost all important affairs of the PHC have been placed in the hands of administrative employees such as investigations and recording of evidence. He states that all important decisions are being made by nine commissioners of the PHC entirely based upon summaries prepared by the non-qualified employees by way of casting votes. Besides asking the court to set aside the proceedings against the petitioner/doctor, the petition also seeks a declaration that regulations about the board of the commissioners’ decision through the majority vote are in contrast with the spirit of the parent statute and all judicial norms.
It further asks the court to declare the handling of the complaint by the PHC through its non-qualified employees against the procedure prescribed under the parent laws.
The petition says the ‘inspection team’, under the PHC Act, should have more than two medical experts having postgraduate qualification and not less than 15 years experience in the field concerned, one employee of the commission and others from public or private sector for being eligible to inspect any healthcare establishment. However, it says, the team that raided and sealed the clinic of the petitioner comprised only one doctor.
Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi will resume hearing on the petition on Jan 18 as notices have been issued to the respondents of the PHC for their replies.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022