KP hospitals to get autonomy on UK pattern

Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR/ Dawn Report: The provincial government has decided to replace the Medical Institutions Reforms Act, 2002 with a new law modeled after National Health Service UK to give complete autonomy to the teaching and district headquarters hospitals of the province, according to sources.Dawn file photo

“We have received go-ahead to draft new law within three months. The legislation will be done keeping in view famous Margaret Thatcher’s’ reforms in UK,” relevant officials told Dawn.

There are very clear guidelines to start work on the draft law to pave way for reforms in health department.

“The decision to incorporate drastic changes to the existing law was made after last meeting of the working group on reforms in health sector and Imran Khan instructed for legislation,” officials said. They said that some of the points to be made part of the law were clear. The hospitals will have Board of Governors (BoG) with two-third representation from the private sector, they said.

Officials said that members of BoG of the respective hospital would be selected first and they would appoint the chief executive officer. Criteria for selection of BoG members would be drawn up in the rules to be formed after enactment of the new law, they said.

“We have also sought help from international partners in the formulation of draft law,” officials said. They added Imran Khan, supported by health experts of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, listened to them for three hours with full attention.

The present law entrusts chief executive officers with unbridled financial and administrative powers. The main focus of the revised Act will be on the structure of BoG that will be responsible for the financial and administrative matters of the respective teaching and district headquarters hospitals.

Officials said that Imran Khan was unhappy over the provincial government’s inability to appoint full-time chief executive officers of the hospitals in accordance with the autonomy law.

They said that before the formation of new law, relevant people with experience in health administration would be appointed on full-time basis.

Since introduction of the law in 2002, the government had once appointed chief executive officers of the teaching hospitals for a period of three years in Jan 2009. Out of 100 applicants, four with qualification and experience in administration were selected to head Khyber Teaching Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar and Ayub Teaching Hospital Abbottabad. 

“The posts of chief executive officers will be filled through people with qualification and experience in health administration. They will be supposed to remain on-call in hospitals round the clock,” officials said.

The decision was taken after they were informed that teaching hospitals had been run without full-time chief executive officers for 20 months, they said.

“Members of PTI think-tank including health management specialists from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, Lahore expressed astonishment and clearly recommended specialists on competitive package in every field of health department to improve patients care,” they said. Officials said that the law would free the hospitals from the government’s control. “Imran Khan and his team will take action if government replaces the present CEOs with professors, who also run private clinics because it has been categorically made clear in the meeting that the services of qualified health administrators should be obtained to run the hospitals efficiently,” they said.

Officials said that some of the clauses in the existing law would be retained. “For example, it says that no person shall be appointed as CEO, unless he posses post-graduate medical/management/science qualification from reputable institutions with 10 years experience in health-related management/policy which is in line with the PTI’s vision,” they said.

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