PESHAWAR: The proposed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical and Health Institutions and Regulation of Healthcare Services Ordinance 2012 has generated controversy and divided various tiers of the medical community.
The ordinance would undermine the autonomy spirit, quality of services and organisation and management of tertiary care hospitals, said some of the teaching staff at the tertiary care hospitals.
They believed the proposed ordinance was mala fide and would not serve the purpose. However, the Health Department officials are of the opinion it would effect a fundamental change in the best interest of the patients and improve the services at the hospitals. The detractors have either not read the ordinance or failed to comprehend its spirit, which is essentially doctor and patient-friendly, the officials argued.
A number of doctors organisations have expressed reservations over the proposed ordinance, saying the real stakeholders were not taken into confidence and the ordinance had been prepared in haste. They said the Health Department should stop experiments, as that would be detrimental to the healthcare services.
The Health Department has prepared a draft ordinance “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical and Health Institutions and Regulation of Health Care Services Ordinance 2012” and has sent it to the Finance and Establishment departments for consideration.
The ordinance will give more authority to the department to intervene, control and manage the tertiary care hospitals, even at the micro level. It would lead to unified seniority scale of all the employees of the tertiary care hospitals, transferable among autonomous medical and health institutions.
The opponents said the ordinance was a covert attempt to bring all the four autonomous health institutions under the direct administrative control of the Health Department, restricting their autonomous character.
They said the writ petitions No 3129/2010 and 3318/2011 had been made a base for the impugned ordinance but the writ petitions actually pertained to suo moto judgments in which the main objectives of the High Court decision was to check spurious drugs and strengthening of Health Regulatory Authority which is only described in the proposed ordinance in Chapter III whereas chapters I and II are included which has never been touched in the judgments given in the petitions.
They said the draft-ordinance was against the spirit of autonomy and particularly the cases of institutional employees in which the Peshawar High Court had decided in favour of the employees. They said according to the proposed ordinance the budget of the autonomous institutions would be approved by the government which, they said, was tantamount to bringing an end to the autonomy of the institutions.
Instead of chief executives of the tertiary care hospitals, who head the institutions, the Dean PGMI or principal Khyber Medical College/Khyber College of Dentistry would chair the meetings of the management council, they added.
The worried doctors said as per the proposed ordinance, the institution employees would be transferable on joint seniority basis between the four autonomous institutions which, they said, would create unrest among the employees and the work would be affected.
They said the regulations for these institutions were in final stages and would hopefully be notified in a month that would help address even the minor issues. The autonomous institutions are already functioning smoothly and were better than the health institutions under the administrative control of the Health Department.
When contacted, Special Secretary Health Prof Dr Noorul Iman, the architect of the proposed ordinance, argued the tertiary care hospitals autonomy would be strengthened. He said the government wanted to end the power concentration in these autonomous institutions and share the responsibility to control the power abuse.
The official said the management councils would be the supreme bodies to administer the affairs of these institutions. Though, Dean PGMI or principal KMC/KCD will chair the council meeting, yet they will have no administrative powers. The chief executives will implement the decisions taken in the council meetings.
He said the joint seniority list would not compromise the seniority of any individuals as it was based on the date of joining and didn’t pertain to the institutions that one joined. The official asked those having reservations over the ordinance should discuss it with the government to improve the health delivery.
He said there was lack of harmony and standardisation among the tertiary care hospitals, the lab, CT Scan and X-ray charges were different in these hospitals. “We want them standardised to benefit the patients,” he added.
The ordinance is the result of long deliberations and discussions amongst senior health professionals to bring about a change that will result in patient’s welfare and also bring justice to the teaching cadre of various tertiary care hospitals, he stated.