Monday May 20, 2024

Row over biometric attendance system: Doctors, staff turn against Swabi hospital admin

By Our Correspondent
June 01, 2023

SWABI: The doctors and some staff members of the Bacha Khan Medical Complex (BKMC) in Swabi have turned against the hospital administration which decided that employees would use the biometric system to ensure their attendance. First time in the hospital’s history, the hospital administration in line with the directions of the Board of Governors (BoG) made it mandatory for the employees particularly for faculty members to use biometric for their daily attendance.

Also, another decision of the BoG was the appointment of the chairpersons of the departments of the doctors who had opted for the medical teaching institutions (MTI). According to sources in the hospital, most of the civil servants were used to be heads of departments as they had neither joined MTI nor were willing to shift their evening time private clinics to the hospital premises and join the institution-based private practice (IBPP).

“Some of the doctors, particularly the civil servants, never followed the official duty timetable. They come late and leave early as nobody challenges them,” one of the faculty members told The News, adding that now when the BoG made it mandatory for the faculty members and other employees to use biometric for their attendance, the doctors and employees turned against the hospital administration. According to the MTI law, civil servants can’t become chairpersons of the departments as they would have to resign and join MTI.Also, those who don’t attend IBPP, are not eligible to become head of the department.

The unwilling employees had formed an association and launched a protest campaign against the hospital administration and particularly against the Dean of Gajju Khan Medical College (GKMC) and Associate Dean to blackmail them so they don’t pursue directions of the BoG.BKMC in Swabi had largely suffered due to political interference and politically-motivated associations of the hospital employees in the past. The present BoG, headed by Maj-Gen Salahuddin Qasim, is widely appreciated for the good work they had done during its tenure and putting the institutions on track.

Before the present BoG, patients from all over Swabi would go to Mardan and Peshawar for the basic services that should have been available in the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital. There was no concept of handling emergencies and offering emergency services before. Besides the BoG, two Swabi-based politicians, former speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and former provincial minister Shahram Tarakai played a key role in helping the BoG to improve services. They had given a free hand to the BoG and tasked it with bringing the hospital to the level of other MTIs.

New specialties were started and expensive equipment were installed. A former hospital director, Dr Khalid Masud’s role is also remembered as when was appointed the first hospital director, he started from scratch and before his appointment as HD for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, BKMC had become a centre of quality services. There were also rumours that some external forces were involved in the present crisis as they wanted to force the present BoG to quit so the caretaker government could bring their own people into the BoGs.