Pims Cardiac Centre faces shutdown as PM Office sacks doctors

ISLAMABAD:

The Prime Minister’s Office has issued orders for the immediate removal of all doctors at the Cardiac Centre at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for conducting private medical practice.

The orders have put the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and the Pims administration in trouble as the removal of staff will mean the suspension of services at the Cardiac Centre.

CADD had informed the Prime Minister’s Office last year that it wants to retain the employees and that the process of regularisation is also underway and employees of the Cardiac Centre had last month obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as well.

The orders from the Prime Minister Office, issued on Nov 8 and available with Dawn, says the prime minister directs the CADD secretary to immediately remove the nine doctors, who are running an “illegal” medical practice at Pims, from the hospital premises.

Doctors who have not been paid for 30 months are accused of conducting ‘illegal’ private practices in the hospital

It also directs for a special audit to be conducted via the Auditor General of Pakistan to ascertain the amount received by these nine private persons directly from patients in the form of fee as well as the amount received by other Pims officers who permitted the doctors to use the Pims premises and facilities for the conduct of medical procedures.

The Prime Minister’s Office has directed for the initiation of legal proceedings against these persons through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), including the recovery of the amount received by them and to take action against anyone found involved in corruption or misconduct during the special audit or FIA proceedings.

The secretary CADD has been directed for the immediate implementation of the prime minister’s orders and the letter has been signed by the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad.

Last month, the premier had directed CADD to hold an inquiry and send a report to the Prime Minister’s Office after which CADD Additional Secretary Jamal Yousuf visited Pims and sent a report to the Prime Minister’s Office in which he confirmed that private practice is conducted at the Cardiac Centre.

Talking to Dawn, Pims Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram said the Cardiac Centre will be shut down if the doctors are removed and that they also cannot be removed as they have obtained a stay order from the IHC.

“On the other hand, a process for regularising the services of the doctors is also underway. I am sure CADD will convince the Prime Minister’s Office that the doctors should not be removed or free treatment to patients will be stopped. The only solution is that the staff should be regularised as soon as possible,” he said.

A doctor at the Cardiac Centre said almost 900 bypass operations have been conducted at Pims since 2015 of which 70 were private.

“The majority of operations were conducted on government officials who are entitled and patients referred by the Pakistan Baitul Mal. Those who came in the private capacity were treated as private patients and the fee was deposited in Pims. According to the rules, the fee collected from private patients admitted in private wards across the hospital is to be distributed among doctors and staff,” he explained.

“The same happened at the Cardiac Centre but we are now being told we are not Pims employees and cannot get a share from private practices. We have not received salaries for 30 months and we depend on the share from private practices, which are given with approval from hospital management,” he said, adding that a private bypass operation costs Rs200,000 at Pims and Rs450,000 at private hospitals.

The Cardiac Centre project was initiated in 2005 and was to be completed in 14 months but took 10 years to finish. Three prime ministers have installed plaques on it. The staff for the centre was appointed through the PC-1 and was paid salaries but after the completion of the project in 2015, the employees were to be dismissed. The Pims management asked them to continue working without salaries and they were promised that their dues will be paid off after their services were regularised. The staff have so far not been regularised because they are now overage and special permission for doing so is required from the prime minister.

The doctors were able to obtain a decision in their favour from the IHC and their issue was also taken up at a number of parliamentary committees.

COURTESY BY: https://www.dawn.com

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