LAHORE: The Punjab government has introduced the "medical education institutions (MTI)" law to close the "administrative gap" that was draining massive public resources while offering poor health care services to patients, as well as teaching facilities in Medical teaching institutions throughout the province.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid dispelled the perception that the government had a plan to privatize any health facility.
Referring to the development budget of Rs230 billion from the health department of Punjab and Rs45bn of development, the minister said the government was spending a budget of Rs4.5 million on each hospital bed in the teaching institutions and Rs3.5m in each bed in primary and secondary care facilities. but no patient was ever satisfied. The health department has 49,000 beds in its health facilities.
Yasmin Rashid says the MTI law was introduced to offer autonomy to institutes
Dr. Rashid said that the MTI Ordinance would offer medical education institutions complete financial and administrative autonomy that guarantees the audit of each employee's performance.
Under MTI, he said the government would nominate a board of governors (BoG) and a hospital committee that would guarantee the availability of all training facilities in teaching hospitals and the medical faculty that trains its students. She said university hospitals would receive a one-line budget so that the BoG could guarantee updated facilities.
She said that the performance of the BoG would be audited by a third party three times a year and a final financial audit by the general accountant and added that the performance audit report of each institution would be presented at the Punjab Assembly.
She said the prime minister would have the powers to dissolve a BoG, if it didn't work at its optimum level.
Responding to a question about the status of civil service under the MTI, Dr. Rashid said the employees would remain servants of the government, but that a medical institution would monitor whether the employees were functioning well or not.
Dr. Rashid said that 50 percent of positions in health facilities were vacant when the PTI government was formed and added that so far 14,000 doctors had been recruited on merit. The government also included 600 medical teachers, 1,100 consultants, 4,000 nurses, 5,000 paramedical personnel and so many pharmacists.
Referring to the low proportion of "four doctors – one nurse" compared to the international standards of "one doctor – 10 nurses," the health minister said the government was in the process of establishing 12 new nursing universities to fill the empty.
She said the government selected 122 private hospitals in its panel that immediately offered 9,000 beds in the province and added that 100 more private hospitals would also be included in the list of the government panel.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Information, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, and the Minister of Information of Punjab, Mian Aslam Iqbal, also spoke on the occasion.
Posted on Dawn, September 8, 2019