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August 23, 2019

Govt announces performance-based salary raise for doctors


August 23, 2019

Islamabad : The government Thursday announced a performance-based increase of Rs40,000-50,000 in the salaries of doctors working in Islamabad’s four key public sector hospitals.

While the incentive will be applicable to all grade 17-20 doctors working at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic), the Federal General Hospital, and the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM), the paid emoluments will be determined against Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to be embedded as a component of the larger hospital reforms agenda.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza made the announcement at a ceremony held in connection with the inauguration of Insaf Doctors’ Forum here at PIMS. In addition to the Executive Director of PIMS, the ceremony was attended by Secretary Health and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, among others.

“I have obtained the Prime Minister’s approval for award of two new allowances to doctors—Special Health Care Allowance and Non-Practicing Allowance. However, since incentives should be based on performance, doctors will have to establish and follow certain standards against which their performance will be evaluated,” Dr. Zafar Mirza stated, hoping that they will work to achieve the upper limit of the increase announced for their respective grades.

Dr. Zafar requested the ED of PIMS to develop a draft for Key Performance Indicators within the next couple of weeks. “The moment this draft is finalized, we will incorporate it into the system and you will start receiving your new salaries,” he stated. While promising revolutionary changes in the health system within the next two years, he held that the government’s reformative thinking is accompanied by small measures that are being taken in view of rising cost of living, inflation, and the necessity to fulfill one’s basic minimum needs.

While the announcement was initially welcomed with applause, it did not take long for the All Employees PIMS Restoration Moment (AEPRM) to reject the KPI-based incentive. And the reaction was quite obvious because doctors in public sector hospitals do not even care to complete their work hours, leave alone present themselves for being judged against their performance. “We want a uniform pay and service structure for all health employees from grades 1 to 20 within the umbrella of the Civil Servants Act 1973,” a statement issued by AEPRM stated. Terming KPI as just another name for MTI, AEPRM’s spokesman Dr. Asfandyar Khan outrightly rejected the system and made it clear that the two-hour anti-MTI protest announced a day earlier would be held as scheduled from August 26.

The AEPRM remained headstrong despite Dr. Zafar’s assurance that a consultative process with all stakeholders would get underway within two weeks of finalization of the MTI draft, and that any proposed amendments will duly be incorporated before the system is implemented. “MTI stands for nothing but destruction. We will not be duped. PIMS is not a laboratory for experiments to be conducted by every new government,” the AEPRM leadership asserted.

Before Dr. Zafar’s visit to PIMS, all hospital employees including professors, consultants, young doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other support staff assembled outside the Administration Block to express concern over the proposed implementation of MTI Act and resolved to connect with all other hospitals so that the very idea of MTI is buried once and for all.

Earlier on, while responding to queries, Dr. Zafar said, extensive work is underway at the Shah Allah Ditta BHU, and that all BHUs will be fully functional in their present form, effective September 10. However, within a year, all 16 BHUs in ICT will have been reconstructed and renamed as Community Health Centres, to be run by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals led by doctors. “A referral system based on HMIS will have been devised by then so that only patients with complicated diseases are referred to tertiary care hospitals. Seventy percent of the patients will be dealt with at the primary and secondary levels once this model healthcare system for ICT is up and running,” he added.

The SAPM also shared the government’s plan to provide free treatment for Hepatits C as part of a programme in which 140 million patients will be screened and 18-20 million will be treated for free. The programme will be announced in six months’ time.

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