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Health ministry vows to discourage private practice, sponsored foreign trips of govt doctors

Officials noted that overwhelming patient load not only from Islamabad but also from other regions exacerbates this issue

By M Waqar Bhatti
March 19, 2024
The logo of the Ministry of NHSRC. — Facebook/Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Islamabad/File
The logo of the Ministry of NHSRC. — Facebook/Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Islamabad/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination (NHS,R&C) has directed public health facilities’ managements to discourage private practice by government-employed doctors, emphasising that the primary responsibility of these doctors is to serve patients in the government-run hospitals.

During a meeting to address administrative and financial affairs, and performance evaluation of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Monday, Federal Secretary of Health Iftikhar Shallwani highlighted the need to restrict the doctors’ overseas travel, especially on sponsored visits.

Shallwani directed that doctors should provide affidavits confirming personal sponsorship for any foreign trips to ensure accountability and dedication to their professional duties.

He stressed the significance of maintaining the highest standards of healthcare delivery and ensuring the availability of doctors and medicine within hospitals. The shortage of human resources affecting the PIMS’s performance was also discussed during the meeting. Officials noted that the overwhelming patient load not only from Islamabad but also from other regions exacerbates this issue.

In response, the health secretary instructed the PIMS’ administration to expedite the recruitment process to effectively manage the increasing patient influx. Currently, 107 vacancies for professors, associate professors, and assistant professors, along with 405 positions for nurses and medical officers, have been advertised.

Expressing concerns about disciplinary matters concerning doctors, Shallwani reiterated the need to discourage private practice among the government-employed doctors. He emphasised the importance of curbing overseas travel, stating that the doctors should confirm personal sponsorship for foreign visits to ensure their commitment to professional duties.

Furthermore, he also directed the PIMS’ administration to ensure efficient healthcare provision and uphold professional conduct within the medical fraternity. He called for strict enforcement of disciplinary measures and instructed the administration to submit a comprehensive report detailing actions taken against employees breaching disciplinary protocols.

Shallwani urged PIMS’ administration to intensify efforts to enhance patients’ facilitation. The directive underscores the ministry’s commitment to improving healthcare services and ensuring the dedication of medical professionals to their public service duties.