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Another Court-battle

A long battle of rights for the “patients”, as claimed by both Govt. and protesting unions, came to an end with the judgment of Peshawar High Court (PHC) dismissing all seven petitions challenging Medical teaching institutions reforms act (MTI Act 2015) and declaring it an enactment of competent legislature and hence constitutional. Just after a short break, now parties are back in the court and this time, it’s about the dissolution of Postgraduate medical institute (PGMI). As the matter is sub judice and Govt. has yet to submit its position so hoping that it will be settled soon.

Meanwhile looking at the response from the doctors and suspending healthcare function for a time, one wonders what’s so serious happening in this regard. There have been some negotiations between doctors association (twenty plus unions and it’s so confusing that I don’t know who is who) with the chief minister who attended their grievances and one shall hope that govt. will fulfill the promises made during negotiations. On 26 January 2016 govt. notified the decisions of the competent authority with regard to PGMI Hayatabad, Peshawar.

PGMI was created in 1984 with an aim to impart postgraduate medical training to doctors and was headed by a Dean. PGMI is affiliated with Khyber Medical University, Peshawar for the award of degree and accredited by College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) & Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) with respect to award of diploma certificates. PGMI acts as a central body to select and distribute trainee medical officers (TMOs) among its constituent & affiliated colleges for FCPS, MCPS & other PG Diploma courses. In 2013, PGMI was administering training, salary and other general matters of 1413 TMOs spread over ten medical colleges and 5 cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Govt. notified on 26 January 2016 that each MTI shall have a Postgraduate wing (PG Wing) to be headed by Associate Dean. Under MTI regulations, a Dean of the MTI will select an associate dean for approval from Board of Governors to be appointed as head of PG Wing. The associate dean will be responsible for PG Medical education in the institution, will report academic council after every 3 months. This will certainly offer an opportunity for the closer monitoring of PG training at the institutional level.

It further notified a Central Induction Committee comprising Associate Deans of all MTIs. Chairman of the central induction committee will be appointed by govt. from amongst the Ass. Deans in central induction committee for 2 years on the rotation basis. Central induction committee will induct trainee medical officers for different specialties twice a year however the inductions for specialty and diploma shall be with prior input from the MTIs with respect to teaching capacity and specialties sanctioned by CPSP.

All administrative, financial and academic activities of the TMOs deployed in nearly 10 hospitals in 5 cities through PGM Peshawar will now be managed by right at the medical institute they are attached with, provided govt. passed the test before PHC. The finance department will release the stipends of TMOs to each medical institute where MTI Act 2015 is in force and Health department will pay stipends to those TMOs deployed in medical institutes currently not under MTI Act 2015.

Protecting the employment of medical faculty & administrative staff of the PGMI, the medical faculty of PGMI currently assigned to LRH and all administrative staff of PGMI will be absorbed by MTI Lady Reading Hospital (MTI LRH). Both medical faculty & administrative staff absorbed in MTI LRH will have freedom to exercise their right to be absorbed either as government servant or institutional employee. Accordingly, medical faculty of PGMI currently assigned to Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) will be absorbed by MTI HMC and absorbing employee can choose to be absorbed as government servant or institutional employee. Govt will continue to pay for these absorbed employees. All such proportional payments will be included into grant-in-aid to these MTIs thus taking complete ownership of all these employees and protecting their employment.

In order to monitor and improve PG training quality, Associate Dean in each MTI is required to report every 3 months on training quality matter to the academic council of the institute. Further, in this regard Associate Deans of all PG Wings are required to meet quarterly with chairman central induction committee as the head. The final outcome responsibility on the PG training has been shifted from one PGMI Dean to all MTIs thus causing a competitive environment for the PG Training.

Going through the existing PGMI administrative system, knowing concerns of doctor unions represented by Dr Alamgir, reported concerns from the petition filed before PHC by Dr Hussain Haroon and notified PG training set up by govt one shall be able to have a clear picture on nature of the conflict on PGMI dissolution and subsequent impact on Doctors pursuing PG training and for the public at large.

 

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Yasir Cheema

Yasir Cheema is a Civil Engineer by training and currently working as Resident Engineer for Surbana Jurong Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. He writes at this portal about Governance, Public policy, Institutional development, Construction practices, and procedures.

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