The Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has announced a province-wide protest to demand critical reforms in the healthcare sector. The doctors are calling for the restoration of civil service positions in teaching hospitals, an increase in salaries for trainee medical officers and house officers, and action against irregularities within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Commission.
Frustration Fueled Protest
The PDA has expressed deep disappointment with the caretaker government, which they believed would address their longstanding concerns. However, as their hopes were dashed, they felt compelled to resort to a protest to ensure their demands are met. The protest, scheduled to last until Sunday, may escalate into a full-scale strike if their concerns remain unaddressed.
Restoration of Civil Service Positions
One of the primary demands of the PDA is the restoration of civil service positions in medical teaching institutions that were abolished by the previous government. These positions are crucial for the promotion of medical professionals who were appointed through competitive examinations held under the Public Service Commission. The PDA argues that these positions are legally protected and must be reinstated to quell unrest among hundreds of doctors.
Salaries for Trainee Medical Officers and House Officers
They also highlights the glaring disparity in salaries and stipends between trainee medical officers, house officers, and other civil servants. They insist that these medical professionals deserve higher compensation to bring them in line with their counterparts in other regions.
Action Against Irregularities
The PDA alleges significant irregularities within the Board of Governors of teaching hospitals and administrative officers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Commission. They are calling for a thorough investigation into these matters and the removal of individuals involved in misappropriation of funds. These actions are essential to ensure transparency and accountability in healthcare management.
Reforming the Healthcare System
Moreover, the PDA is urging the government to model healthcare reforms after Punjab and Sindh provinces, emphasizing the need to combat quackery and protect patients from unqualified medical practitioners. They propose the establishment of an anti-quackery cell dedicated to addressing this issue.
Promotions and Vacant Positions
Another pressing concern is the approval of promotions for more than 140 doctors who have been waiting for their upgradation since January. The PDA calls on the health department to expedite this process. They are also concerned about vacant positions in the general and management cadre and request immediate advertising and appointments to fill these crucial roles.
Political Appointees and Consulting Stakeholders
The PDA strongly advocates for the removal of political appointees from the Boards of Governors in all medical teaching institutions. Instead, they propose hiring healthcare professionals who can bring expertise and impartiality to the management of these institutions. Furthermore, the PDA underscores the significance of consulting stakeholders before implementing policies such as biometric attendance for healthcare staff, emphasizing that inclusive decision-making can lead to more effective and well-received solutions in the healthcare sector.
Improving State Hospitals
The PDA rejects the health department’s notification regarding the proximity of private clinics to doctors’ duty places and suggests focusing on improving state hospitals to deter patients from seeking private care. They emphasize the need for round-the-clock services in state hospitals to meet patient demands.
Ensuring Health Worker Protection
Lastly, the PDA calls for the enforcement of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Employees Social Security Act, 2020, to protect health workers from violence. This measure is essential for the safety and well-being of medical professionals.
The Provincial Doctors Association’s province-wide protest reflects the frustration and determination of medical professionals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to bring about much-needed reforms in the healthcare sector. Their demands encompass a wide range of issues, from the restoration of civil service positions to addressing irregularities and improving healthcare services for the people of the province. It is now up to the government to engage with the PDA and work towards a comprehensive and lasting solution to these critical healthcare challenges.