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National Health Services: Senate body fails to reach consensus on two bills – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS), on Thursday, failed to reach any consensus on the two bills – Reorganisation of the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes and Teaching Hospitals (the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Bill, 2021) and Bill to reorganise and create the National Institute of Health (The National Institute of Health Reorganisation) Bill, 2021, due to serious questions raised by the opposition members.

The committee meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Mohammad Humayun Khan to discuss the agenda regarding the two bills referred by the House.

Chairman committee Senator Dr Mohammad Humayun Khan remarked that 90 percent of the Pakistanis are corrupt, and are also intellectually corrupt.

He said that being a health professional he was considering it the best healthcare system for the country, and therefore, was requesting the parliamentarians to help the government to pass the bills.

Due to serious objections by the committee members, the chairman was forced to defer further discussions of the bills till the next meeting.

The chairman adjourned the meeting with the directions to the committee members to submit their written recommendations on the bill in the next meeting.

Federal Secretary Health, talking about the bills, said that the legislation was amid at improving the overall situation in the health sector, especially in teaching hospitals, in a bid to amicably resolve health-related issues of the masses.

He said that if the proposed legislation is passed by the parliament, the government will offer affected employees to take early retirement with full benefits or continue their services, adding that no employee of the teaching hospitals will be forcibly laid off.

The health secretary said after the passage of the law, the employees will not only get two to three time increase in salaries but it will also help improve the overall health system as relevant people with relevant education and experience will be appointed against relevant posts.

He said that it was not the duty of the Health Ministry to run the hospitals.

Senator Rubina Khalid, one of the committee members, said that such a model was being implemented in Khyber Medical Teaching Hospital (KMTH) Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and it has worsened the provision of health facilities to the masses in the KPK.

She said that the proposed system has totally been failed in the KPK.

Committee members, while expressing serious reservations on the proposed law, said that it is the first time they are coming to know that different people working on the same grade in the same health institution will get different salaries.

Committee member Senator Mohammad Ali Juneju said that he was not in a position to support the bills until the government satisfies on all the sections of the proposed law.

He added that before implementing the law in the federal capital and the rest of the country the government must present the benefits of the system in the KPK as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was ruling the province since 2013.

He said that if the government was so serious in turning the bills into laws, so it must inform the employees of the benefits and losses of the legislation.

The Committee discussed the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Bill, 2021. While discussing the appointment of the Members of Board of Governors of Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) from the private sector, Senator Rubina Khalid objected that how come a public sector organization would be run by a Board of Governors with members from private sector.

Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar expressed that the representatives of the people are parliamentarians and they have not been included in the Board.

Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister informed the Committee that the bill aims to improve the governance and ensures to run an organisation with innovative scientific technology.

Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo and Senator Sana Jamali raised serious reservations on issue of future status of employee of the PIMS and other institutions after the bill is passed.

Senator Muhammad Asad Khan Junejo recommended that the Committee should visit the PIMS and inform the employees about the bill.

Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo emphasized that the MTI model is creating disparity for the employees working for the same institution.

Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, enlightened the Committee that, some of the definitions in the bill are not specified and are open-ended and no specific criteria has been mentioned to define terms like “consultant”.

He recommended that in schedule of the bill, other institutions may also be included.

The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Sana Jamali, Dilawar Khan, Rubina Khalid, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Imamuddin Shouqeen, Hafiz Abdul Karim, Muhammad Asad Ali KhanJunejo, and senior officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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