LAHORE - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that Medical Teaching Institutions Ordinance was part of reform agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan to give relief to the masses.

Addressing a press conference at Directorate General Public Relations on Saturday, she said that one year performance of Punjab government was highly appreciable.

Flanked by Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid and Minister for Information Mian Aslam Iqbal, Firdous said that the PTI government devises policies keeping in view the present day and future needs and the health reforms were part of the strategy to facilitate patients.

Giving details of the Ordinance, Dr Yasmin Rashid said that there was no plan to privatise any public sector hospital.

She said that MTI Ordinance was aimed at improving working of hospitals and provision of quality treatment facilities to the ailing humanity. She said the rumors and speculations about MTI Ordinance were aimed at misleading the masses. Neither administrative nor financial power was given to any government hospital in the act introduced in 2003, she said, adding, the recent move of giving financial and administrative autonomy to the institutions would help ensuring provision of quality healthcare facilities to the patients. She said that the government has recruited more than 15000 doctors on merit in one year. Sehat Insaaf Cards have been distributed in 28 districts to enable the poor to get quality healthcare facilities, she said, adding, one family would be able to access medical facilities up to Rs720,000 free of cost. Annually three audits of teaching institutions would be conducted and board of governors could be changed on any negligence, she said. Performance report of institutions would be presented before the Punjab Assembly and promotions of doctors would be linked with performance. She said that the government has the right to ask about the performance of doctors after giving huge perks and privileges. She said evening OPD shift would help catering requirements of huge number of patients. She said that the government would bear treatment expenditures of deserving patients at OPDs. She said that provision of best healthcare facilities was part of PTI manifesto. She said that the past regime had ruined working of hospitals and the government was taking steps for putting the house in order.

Mian Aslam Iqbal accused the opponents of creating confusions about the MTI Ordinance, saying they were not sincere with the masses. “PTI regime believes in spending public money on people’s welfare”, he said.

A couple of days ago,  Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said the government was not going to privatise healthcare facilities. “The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance 2019 is aimed at improving healthcare service delivery and making healthcare system more efficient, responsive and accountable. There is consensus among all stakeholders that we need to improve healthcare system,” she explained.

The minister continued:  “This is a beginning for which we have consulted all stakeholders. Initially, the act will be piloted in five institutions and after review future course of action will be adopted.

“The government is introducing one-line budget system that will ensure availability of funds and uninterrupted supply of medicines.

“A comparative study of systems in developed countries was made and all stakeholders were consulted including vice chancellors, professors, medical and professional bodies and other organisations before development of the framework.

 “Doctors’ longstanding demand for raise in salary would be met  through the MTI Act. However, a robust monitoring system has to be in place if wages to be given a substantial boost.”

In another meeting,  the minister reviewed security for hospitals at at Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department. Provincial Secretary Health Usman, Special Secretaries Mian Shakeel and Mudassir Waheed Malik, SSP Muhammad Naveed, Additional Secretary Salman Shahid and other senior officials attended the meeting.

Yasmin said complete security will be provided to patients of government hospitals. She said security of all government hospital will be monitored with CCTV cameras on a regular basis.

Trained security staff will be deputed at the entry and exit points of the hospitals. SSP Naveed said that training will be provided to the security guards.