PESHAWAR: The high-level inquiry ordered by the then chief minister Pervez Khattak to investigate how a man managed to impersonate as a doctor at the institution-based private clinic of Prof Noor Wazir was stopped on the intervention of senior bureaucrats to save the accused from serious disciplinary action, government officials disclosed.
The impersonator, identified as Qudratullah Shah Wazir, was working as a doctor at the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) and attended patients at the clinic of Prof Dr Noor Wazir for around two years.
Prof Noor Wazir was Dean of Khyber Girls Medical College (KGMC) and head of Medical-A ward in HMC.
Prof Shehzad Akbar, medical director of HMC, had formed a committee after reports surfaced that a fake doctor managed to work as trainee medical officer in HMC, claiming that he got salary for two years.
The committee that comprised Dr Sheraz Jamal, Dr Zahid Aman and Dr AH Amir found that the impersonator was working as an observer and was later posed as TMO.
The committee recommended that KGMC Dean Dr Noor Wazir should be cautioned for his negligence and advised to remain vigilant in future.
However, some people later approached chief minister Pervez Khattak to tell him that the hospital administration and chairman Board of Governors (BoG) Sahibzada Saeed manipulated the committee and tried to save Dr Noor Wazir from punishment.
The chief minister ordered a high-level committee, comprising senior surgeon and Medical Director Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Prof Roohul Muqeem, then Medical Director of Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Prof Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi and Dr Tahir Nadeem, management cadre BS-20, Director General, Provincial Health Services Academy Peshawar, and tasked to find out how, Qudratullah Shah Wazir, was drawing salary against the TMO post; how and why he went unnoticed for considerable time amongst the doctor community; whether he was operating alone or in nexus with others.
The committee was supposed to investigate the mode of identification of doctors working in various capacities in the hospitals in light of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols and to fix responsibility and make recommendations to avoid such happenings in future. The committee needed to submit its report in 15 days.
According to some members of the inquiry committee, the first thing they did after visiting the hospital was to seek record of the CCTV cameras.
“They told us that their CCTV cameras had limited recording capacity and therefore refused to provide us its footage. Then we asked them to bring to us purchase documents of the CCTV cameras so that we can see specifications of the CCTV cameras and capacity,” recalled one member of the committee.
Pleading anonymity, he said, it was a turning point and the hospital administration and particularly BoG chairman realised that the committee members were serious and would take the investigation to the logical end.
“And on the second visit to the hospital, we were directed by senior officials in the government to stop further inquiry into the incident,” recalled the member of the committee.
This correspondent checked these facts with another member of the same inquiry committee and he confirmed it. He claimed that some senior people didn’t want the external committee to probe the issue and feared that it might expose Dr Noor Wazir, as being Dean of a medical teaching institution he was supposed to face disciplinary action.
Asked who stopped them from their probe, he said certain senior government officials along with then chairman BoG Sahibzada Saeed went to Pervez Khattak and convinced him on withdrawing his earlier directives.
Senior government officials who remained close to the former chief minister confirmed to The News that Pervez Khattak was initially quite angry after the reports of an impersonator appeared in the media and had decided not to spare those involved in the scam. However, some people later came to him and requested him to stop the second inquiry as the hospital had already conducted its own probe.
Qudratullah Wazir, the impersonator, belonged to Bannu and ran private clinic in his native town. He used to attract a large number of patients on weekends as he was known as a gastroenterologist.
According to faculty members of HMC, Qudratullah Wazir would have continued working for years had he not exchanged harsh words on October 17, 2017 with a trainee registrar working at the Pediatric Cardiology Department who visited the medical unit to inquire after one of his relatives admitted there.
The issue was reported to the deputy medical superintendent. The trainee registrar had submitted a separate complaint with the HMC administration.
The hospital administration formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident and it came to know that Qudratullah Wazir was not a doctor.
Dr Noor Wazir later told the inquiry committee that Qudratullah Wazir had come to him with a ‘house-job doctor’ some months ago and both were allowed to be ‘attached’ to his clinic as observers.
He said the ‘house-job doctor’ later left after completing his tenure but Qudratullah Wazir continued to work in his clinic. He later started taking round at Medical-A unit of Dr Noor Wazir and even got accommodation in a hostel meant for the TMOs.
The Young Doctors Association (YDA) that first raised the issue alleged that Qudratullah Wazir had passed matriculation examination in 2015. It held a senior doctor responsible for enabling him to continue working as doctor.
They claimed that Qudratullah Wazir was seen with Dr Noor Wazir for two years but nobody could dare ask his credentials as he was a professor.
YDA wrote to the HMC administration on October 18, 2017 to complain that Qudratullah Wazir used to harass female doctors. The senior registrar had terminated him from service after receiving several complaints against him.
The faculty members said they expected the interim BoG would take note of this serious issue, which had earned a bad name for the two institutions, HMC and KGMC, but the new board also kept quiet on it.