PESHAWAR: After their failure to dissolve the Board of Governors of 10 medical teaching institutions, the acting special assistant to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, Dr Riaz Anwar, on Tuesday...
PESHAWAR: After their failure to dissolve the Board of Governors of 10 medical teaching institutions, the acting special assistant to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister, Dr Riaz Anwar, on Tuesday issued a notification to ban major decisions by the BoGs in their respective institutions, including recruitment and appointments, terminations, promotions, procurements and awarding fresh tenders.
The provincial health department, on the direction of the acting special assistant, issued a notification in this regard, and its copy is available with The News.
“I am directed to refer to the above captioned subject and in continuation of this department’s letters on different dates and to state that the special assistant to the chief minister on health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has shown grave concern and desired to impose a ban on the following activities by the BoGs forum or any other subordinates formations, keeping in view the reported unprecedented recent apprehensions of irregularities till further orders,” it is mentioned in the notification.
It further stated that “the compliance in this regard may be ensured in letter and spirit and to avoid uninterrupted provision of grants keeping in view cooperation/ efforts extended by this office. Inability to comply will further strengthen the apprehension being mentioned.”
The notification was dispatched to all the 10 MTIs (medical teaching institutions, including the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) and Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Peshawar, Mardan Medical Complex (MMC), Qazi Hussain Ahmad Medical Complex, Nowshera (QHAMC), Ayub Teaching Hospital (ATH) or Ayub Medical Complex (AMC), Abbottabad, Khalifa Gul Nawaz Medical Complex or Bannu Medical Complex in Bannu, and Mufti Mahmud Memorial Teaching Hospital in Dera Ismail Khan.
It is widely believed that some people had been planted in the caretaker government to settle old score with Dr Nausherwan Burki, the architect of so-called health reforms initiated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government. Some of the people, including Dr Riaz Anwar, the acting special assistant to the caretaker chief minister, were stated to be victims when a cardiac surgery department was closed in the LRH on the alleged high mortality rate.
Dr Riaz Anwar was head of the department and it was a huge embarrassment for him when he was asked to improve his skills in cardiac institute of good quality. He had to quit job and was still jobless when the caretaker government was installed and he was first picked up as special assistant to the chief minister for sports and then health.
The caretaker government had initially dissolved the BoGs and planned to appoint new boards and adjust their blue-eyed people on the boards. The MTIs immediately went to the Peshawar High Court and challenged the decision of the caretaker government. The court reinstated the BoGs and asked the government to explain its position for dissolving the boards.
The caretaker government recently issued a notification and withdrew its previous decision regarding dissolution of the hospital boards. The government, particularly Dr Riaz Anwar and another powerful figure belonging to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and holding an important position in the government, were behind the BoGs and wanted to send them home by hook or by crook. According to senior government officials, the decision will have negative impact on patient care only.
“There is a set procedure for promotions in the MTIs which nobody can stop. Similarly, the hospital administration has to fill the vacant positions when some of the doctors leave the institution as they will have to take care of the patients,” said one government official.
Pleading anonymity, he said the notification was against the basic fundamental rights, wondering how the hospitals can be stopped from procurement of medicines when they are providing services to thousands of patients on daily basis.
“This notification shows sheer frustration of the decisions maker. He either doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to understand as to how major hospitals can be prevented from procurement, promotions or awarding tenders when they are receiving thousands of patients in emergency,” he argued.
An official of one MTI in Peshawar showed a negative reaction, saying they were not aware of the intentions of the decision makers but since the hospitals were already lacking funds, there was no reason they would spend money unnecessarily.
“The caretaker government had already cut funds for the hospitals. The hospitals do not have funds for the basic requirement and I don’t understand what the government wants to do with the public sector hospitals,” he said.
He said he was surprised to see that the government had also stopped the BoGs from terminations. “It mentions terminations as well. Now there may be ripe cases against someone for major offence, why shouldn’t they be terminated?” he said. The hospitals have repeatedly decided to challenge the decision of Dr Riaz Anwar in the court, saying it was based on personal revenge. When reached, Dr Riaz Anwar avoided to comment.