ISLAMABAD: Board of Governors (BoG) of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has approved Covid-19 health risk allowance for 680 employees of the hospitals.

The decision was made on the recommendation of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and an amount of Rs122 million would be paid to the employees.

In December last year, an inquiry committee had found around 1,000 ghost employees of Pims nominated for Covid-19 health risk allowance, and recommended further investigation into disbursement of funds under the allowance in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

The hospital has 4,200 employees but a list of 4,700 employees was sent to the ministry for allowance. Moreover, 680 genuine employees of the hospital were missing in the list.

Earlier, government had announced that health risk allowance would be paid to staff which was exposed to Civid-19 and till date hundreds of millions of rupees have been paid to the employees of the federal capital hospitals.

However, employees had alleged embezzlement in disbursement of funds.

A three-member inquiry committee headed by Prof Nadeem Akhtar (a surgeon at Pims) pointed out that 680 genuine employees had failed to get the allowance.

The NHS ministry then referred the matter to the BoG Pims for consideration.

On Monday, BoG approved Covid-19 health risk allowance for 680 employees.

Grand Health Alliance (GHA) chairman Dr Asfandyar Khan, while talking to Dawn, said that it was a major step taken by the BoG as employees had a feeling of deprivation and disappointment.

While replying to a question, he said that the health risk allowance has been paid till June 2021 and demanded the allowance for the current financial year.

Dr Khan said that the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Act had allowed that the employees of the hospital, having civil servant status, will be able to get administrative posts for 10 years but it was not being allowed by the ministry.

In November 2020, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated the Medial Teaching Institution (MTI) Ordinance.

According to draft board of governors (BoG) had to deal with all affairs of the Pims once it became MTI. The members were appointed and notified by the Ministry of NHS on the recommendation of a search and nomination council.

The BoG had overall superintendence and control over the functions of the hospital.

It had power to appoint deans, the hospital director, medical director, nursing director and finance director of the hospital.

However, Pims staff protested against the ordinance and on June 28 last year Senate Standing Committee on NHS rejected the MTI bill as two votes were in favour of the bill and five were against it. Later it could not sail through the upper house and lapsed on July 13.

The government managed to pass the bill through a joint session.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022

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