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September 19, 2019

‘Betrayed’ staff threatens to close PIMS against legislation By Jamila Achakzai

National

 
September 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As the federal cabinet sets the ball rolling for the transformation of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences into a medical teaching institution by consenting to a proposed law, employees of the government hospital feel cheated by the national health services ministry’s top boss and warn that they will resist the move tooth and nail to protect own and patients’ interests.

Dr Asfandyar Khan, a spokesperson for the All Employees PIMS Restorations Movement, told ‘The News’ that staff members of the hospital, the largest government one in the capital city, were ‘betrayed’ by special assistant to the premier on health services Dr Zafar Mirza.

“Dr Mirza had promised not to go ahead with the so-called hospital reforms plans without getting the concurrence of all stakeholders, including us, but he didn’t keep his word and put up the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad, Reforms Act, 2019, to the cabinet for consent without consultation. As he’s cheated us, we’ll go to any lengths to block the passage of this cruel piece of legislation by parliament to prevent the hospital’s privatisation,” he said. Dr Asfandyar said the proposed law would not only deprive visitors, mostly poor people from all over the country, of free diagnostic and therapeutic care but it would turn the hospital into a corporate organisation and strip employees of the status of civil servants as well.

He said the ministry had made a similar bid four years ago but that fell through. “There’s a complete consensus among PIMS employees that the proposed MTI law threatens their employment as well as patient care. If the government doesn’t address our grievances without delay, we all (staff members) will close the entire hospital by halting its operation to protect own future as well as the interests of poor patients, who make 90 per cent of the visitors” he said.

The employees’ representative said the government could improve patient care at the hospital by filling vacancies, increasing the number of beds, installing the required modern machinery, and regularising the services of temporary doctors.

“If there’re problems at PIMS, the government is to blame and not the staff. These problems will go away if the government provides the hospital with the necessary manpower and facilities,” he said.

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