The Research and Policy Unit’s Health group met on the 23rd of October 2021. The meeting was chaired by Khawaja Salman Rafique. The topic of discussion was The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Act 2020 and the repercussions its enforcement would have upon our current healthcare system in the Punjab.
Prior to being presented on the floor of the house this ball had already gained opposition and the PTI health minister was late in presenting it as a result. Amongst the most vocal opponents were Khawaja Salman Rafique, Dr. Mazhar Iqbal and late Waris Kallu. They cautioned the government that the new system proposed had already been tried and failed badly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its replication in Punjab could wreak havoc with the healthcare system in what is the most populated province of the country. Their objections fell upon deaf ears and no debate or amendments were considered and the bill was passed.
Under the laws of the new Act each teaching institute will have a board of governors that is responsible for the superintendence and functioning of the administration of the institute. This new board of governors would be replacing the old board of management that currently exists in Punjab’s teaching medical institutes.
The board of governors is to be selected by a search and nomination committee that will be notified by the chief minister of Punjab. It is to comprise of the health minister, chief secretary, secretary health, vice chancellor of the institute, a philanthropist (in that field), a retired medical person, and a representative from civil society.
A group of medical professionals came to the meeting in order to help clarify the adverse effects the new system may have on the institutes and on the medical community. The chair highly appreciated the doctors and their efforts in identifying the pitfalls in the new system. It was unanimously decided to meet again with a view to discuss
- A) Management of hospitals,
- B) Management of finances
- C) Medical facilitation for those financially challenged
- D) Systems comparison of board of management vs. board of governors
The meeting ended with vote of thanks by the honourable chair.