PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has decided that three more hospitals in the province will be declared medical teaching institutions following necessary amendments to the law as part of health reforms.

Of these hospitals, two are in Kohat and one in Peshawar.

The decision was made during a recent meeting chaired by chief secretary Dr Shahzad Bangash and attended by the health, law and establishment secretaries here.

While discussing the province’s major health issues, the participants decided that Kohat’sDistrict Headquarters Hospital and Liaquat Memorial Hospital and Peshawar’s Fountain House, which was near completion, would be the next MTIs.

The chief secretary directed the health department to propose amendments to the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015, and send the draft to the chief minister for approval.

Govt plans to amend law for the purpose

The law department was told to ensure the early vetting of the proposed amendments.

Currently, the province has 11 medical teaching institutions and the number will reach 13 following the execution of the health department’s plan.

The relevant officials told Dawn that the government wanted to accord MTI status to more and more health facilities to improve their performance.

The government had enacted the MTI Act in 2015 leading to the placing of teaching hospitals and their affiliated medical and dental colleges under boards of governors.

Previously, those institutions were overseen by the health department.

The officials said the government wanted to grant administrative and financial autonomy to hospitals and improve patient care there and therefore, it legislated for the purpose.

They said the law was extended to more and more hospitals and affiliated colleges.

In November last year, the health department notified the Topi and Chota Lahor tehsil headquarters hospitals in the Swabi district as the constituents of the MTI Bacha Khan Medical Complex (BKMC).

Officials claimed that the health facilities had improved performance after the MTI BKMC took them over.

They said the two hospitals were upgraded as tehsil headquarters hospitals three years ago but their performance wasn’t up to the mark, but following the notification, they began proper outpatient departments, admitting patients, performing surgeries, and launched investigative services.

The officials said the BKMC’s hospital director was currently overseeing the hospitals.

They said the province had 2,474 health facilities with over 50,000 staff members but they were largely unable to provide services to the people at tehsil and district levels.

The officials said most patients were referred to Peshawar overburdening the tertiary care facilities.

They said the government had already outsourced 19 health facilities to private organisations and was in the process of contracting out other hospitals with poor performances.

The officials said the conversion of old hospitals into MTIs was a herculean task as those facilities had staff members, who were recruited by the government as civil servants.

They said several issues hampered the progress of MTIs and a major among them was that most institutions had a hybrid administrative system with both civil servants as well as contractual employees working as staff members.

The officials said some hospitals were launched as MTIs after the enforcement of the relevant law and they included the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology and the Qazi Hussain Ahmed Medical Complex Nowshera with the former being approved for ISO certification lately and the latter endeavouring to achieve performance excellence.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022

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