PESHAWAR: The health department has recommended to chief minister to regularise the services of more than 600 doctors recruited last year as part of the plan to strengthen response against Covid-19, especially in far off districts.

Officials said that they had recommended regularisation of 676 doctors to the government. They said that the doctors were appointed on contractual basis in April 2020 in BPS-17 to manage coronavirus in health facilities. They added that they performed well and health minister directed them to move a summary for their regular jobs.

“We have dispatched a letter to the office of chief minister. The approval of the summary is awaited. Finance and other departments are also involved in the process prior to placing it before the provincial cabinet for approval which will be followed by legislation by provincial assembly,” Health Secretary Mohammad Tahir Orakzai told Dawn.

He said that the department had employed 1,122 doctors on ad hoc basis in April last year for Covid-19 services. “Now we have decided to make their services permanent after thorough work,” he added.

Medics were recruited last year to strengthen response against Covid-19

The health secretary said that scrutiny was started by department regarding all staff, including contractual doctors. “We have found that some of them possessed fake degrees, did dual jobs and were enrolled with Postgraduate Medical Institute as trainee medical officers (TMOs), illegally,” he said.

He added that it was against the government’s rules due to which the department terminated the unlawfully appointed medics through proper channel.

“From time to time, we are dismissing staffers and TMOs after probe. The summary is meant to regularise ad hoc doctors whose performance is up to the mark,” he said.

He added that investigations were also under way against registration on forged documents with Pakistan Medical Commission by doctors.

Other officials in the department said that contracts were signed with doctors when their services were most required due to Covid-19 surveillance and they were deployed in the hospitals across the province.

They also worked in the field to trace contacts of the Covid-19 patients and collect samples from the suspected people.

Since their appointment, the contract doctors have been facing issues in renewal of agreements every six months because the department is required to look into complaints from their immediate officers at the district level, which delays the process of all doctors. “There were fake people. Of them, 66 were registered with PGMI as TMOs in different specialties,” said officials.

Recently, the chief executive officer of PGMI, Prof Mohammad Arif Khan, said in a notification that all the students of postgraduate and diploma courses, who were getting salaries from government, semi-government, autonomous and private institutions besides receiving stipends from the institute, should intimate in a fortnight.

He said that the medics, who reported in a timely manner, would get compensation in the shape of settling down their financial issues in accordance with the government’s law.

The institute has warned termination of training of all those, who don’t comply with the directives and fail to respond within the stipulated period. It said that action against defying doctors would not be limited to debarring them from induction for training but their names would also be reported to all the relevant departments.

Officials said that contract doctors didn’t get health professional allowance like their regular counterparts in the department but they were deployed at far off and hard places not only to examine patients but were also involved in medico-legal examination in hospitals. Last month, they observed weeklong sit-in for regularisation, they said.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

System imbalance
Updated 29 Jun, 2022

System imbalance

Sagging under the weight of internal weaknesses, the political system once again seems to be wobbling towards disequilibrium.
BRICS exclusion
29 Jun, 2022

BRICS exclusion

FOR Pakistan’s sustained economic progress, it is essential for the country to maintain strong linkages with...
Covid resurgence
29 Jun, 2022

Covid resurgence

PAKISTAN is facing yet another wave of Covid-19 infections, with health experts predicting a surge in...
Sindh LG poll mess
Updated 28 Jun, 2022

Sindh LG poll mess

The ECP and the Sindh government share the blame for the electoral mismanagement witnessed on Sunday.
State apathy
28 Jun, 2022

State apathy

The minister would do well to revisit his stance before further damage is done to the fight for civil rights.
Lofty but fragile
28 Jun, 2022

Lofty but fragile

PAKISTAN is set for its busiest mountaineering season in over a decade, with over 1,400 climbers from across the...