PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has stopped the board of governors of the medical teaching institutions from making appointments and taking major policy decisions, and removed one member of the BoG of Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital.

The development comes as the PTI-backed election winners are set to form government in the province.

In a formal order to the province’s all 10 MTIs, the health department said neither the BoGs would make fresh appointments nor would they take any policy decision without the permission of the competent authority or until the formation of the new elected government.

Through another order, it removed KTH board member Gohar Zaman “in the best public interest.”

Officials of the health department told Dawn that PTI leaders had already hinted at the removal of all current MTI BoGs and revocation of their decisions after the government’s formation, so boards were stopped from taking major policy decisions to “prevent issues in the near future.”

Removes KTH BoG member in ‘best public interest’

The first PTI government in the province introduced health reforms and got the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act passed by the provincial assembly in 2015.

The law was first enforced in the province’s oldest hospital, Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, and later extended to other teaching hospitals and their affiliated medical and dental colleges of the province.

After the implementation of the law, the MTI-covered hospitals slipped out of the control of the health department and were governed by the respective BoGs whose members were taken from the private sector through a search and nomination council headed by the health minister.

Officials said the MTI BoGs were so powerful that they took decisions without the approval of the health department and that it could create new posts and abolish positions according to their needs in addition to having complete financial and administrative autonomy.

They added that those positions had become so “lucrative” that soon after the end of the PTI government, the caretaker setup replaced BoGs first in LRH and Abbottabad’s Ayub Teaching Hospital and then other MTIs.

The officials said not only BoGs but members of the MTI’s policy board, too, were shown the door.

They said the MTI policy board was headed by Prof Nausherwan Barki, the architect of the MTIRA, which was there to introduce uniformed policies in all MTIs.

The officials said the health department had appointed new BoGs last year on the directives of the caretakers but stopped them from taking major policy decisions after seeing the PTI form the government in the province.

They said the MTI’s policy board asked MTIs through a notification on Feb 14 to observe six-day work per week.

The officials said MTIs were in the process of implementing the directives amid reservations.

They also said many MTIs had made appointments in the last few months and most of them were likely to be reversed.

The officials said the existing BoGs consisted of many people with no experience in health, administration, law or financial matters but were recommended by political parties.

They added that one BoG member even contested the Feb 8 general elections.

The officials said the health department was bound by the law to implement the policies of the elected government, so there won’t be any hesitation in the replacement of the current boards if the new rulers ordered so.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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