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Hayatabad Medical Complex thumbs its nose at health department

Hayatabad Medical Complex thumbs its nose at health department

PESHAWAR: The Board of Governors of Hayatabad Medical Complex thumbed its nose at the health department after convincing Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to withdraw his own order of inquiry into the issue of a fake doctor at one of Peshawar’s largest public sector hospitals, according to sources.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had ordered formation of an independent board of inquiry on October 26, 2017, to look into media reports about an impersonate doctor, identified as Qudratullah, who was allegedly working as a trainee medical officer and drawing salary.

The inquiry board was tasked to identify administrative lapse, fix responsibility and recommend steps to avert recurrence of such incidents in future.

CM withdraws orders of inquiry into fake doctor issue

The independent board of inquiry, however, met stiff resistance from the hospital authorities. The coordinator-cum-secretary of the inquiry committee, sources said, wrote a letter to the HMC medical director on October 30, 2017 requesting “in the name of justice and public interest” to facilitate the committee, warning, albeit in a polite manner, that any failure to facilitate it could attract proceedings under the CPC,1908.

Sources said that BoG of HMC approached the chief minister and informed him that the fake doctor had already been arrested after an internal inquiry and there was no need for further action by the health department as the hospital was enjoying autonomy under Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015.

An Urdu press release issued by the HMC afterwards said that chief minister demonstrated “greatness” by accepting the hospital’s own internal inquiry and agreeing to rescind his earlier order of an independent inquiry.

Health Secretary Abid Majeed, when approached, confirmed that chief minister had withdrawn his order but declined to offer any further comments.

It may be recalled that the fake doctor, a resident of Bannu, was arrested by police on October 21 following media reports that he had been working for the past three months at the hospital.

According Prof Shehzad Akbar Khan, the medical director of HMC, the administration came to know about the impersonator on Oct 17 after he argued with a trainee registrar of another ward. The trainee registrar had come to medical ward to enquire after the health of one of his relatives. The impersonator claimed that he was on duty in the medical ward.

On complaint of the trainee registrar, the administration formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter and it was found that he was neither on payroll nor involved in patients’ care, said Prof Shehzad.

However, the government rejected the inquiry report and chief minister ordered another probe through a three-member committee to look into the matter on October 26. The committee was directed to submit its report to the government within a fortnight.

The committee members including Lady Reading Hospital Medical Director Prof Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, Khyber Teaching Hospital Medical Director Prof Rohul Muqeem and Dr Tahir Nadeem Khan, the director of Provincial Health Services Academy, visited Hayatabad Medical Complex on October 31 to hold an inquiry into the matter.

However, the members of the committee returned empty handed when they were told by the administration that they had already held an internal inquiry, which had been accepted by the chief minister and there was no need for further probing.

The administration refused to provide record of the incident and denied access of the committee members to the people, who had knowledge of the matter.

The committee members, according to relevant officials, were told that chief minister had withdrawn his order regarding further probe as the doctor had been sent to jail for his unauthorised stint at the hospital.

The government, however, felt that the internal inquiry failed to fix responsibility on those, who let Mr Qudratullah to work in the hospital without first checking his antecedents.

The health department lost control over the tertiary-care hospitals after the promulgation of Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015. The hsopitals are now run by Board of Governors but they continuing to receive budget from the government.

Prof Shehzad told Dawn that they already held inquiry into the matter and the fake doctor was in jail. “We have conducted inquiry through senior most doctors, who don’t feel any need for another inquiry. Our BoG chairman made a detailed presentation to the chief minister, who accepted our version and took back his directives regarding the inquiry,” he said.

Prof Shehzad claimed that the fake doctor never examined patients. “We have already accepted laxity to allow the person to work as supervisor at the dean’s clinic, who later started visiting medical ward occasionally. He was never on payroll,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2017

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