Uncertainty about the future of JPMC, NICVD and NICH resurfaces once again

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 Uncertainty about the future of JPMC,
NICVD
 and NICH resurfaces once again

SHC declares devolution of  these institutions unconstitutional

KARACHI: Sindh High Court has announced its Judgment on a case filed by employees of the Federal government health institutions in Karachi i.e. Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health and declared their devolution unconstitutional. The Court has accepted their plea and said that these institutions will continue to be governed and administered by the Federal Government. However, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has announced that the provincial government will go into appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

It may be mentioned here that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, health services had been transferred to the provinces but the employees who went to the court had taken the plea that these institutions were not healthcare facilities but postgraduate training institutions which should remain with the Federal government. The case was contested by the Sindh Government and after detailed numerous hearings, the court had reserved its judgment which has now been announced. As a result uncertainty about the future of these medical institutions as well as its employees including faculty members has resurfaced once again.  Ever since the court proceedings began and no decision could be taken which was acceptable to both the parties, it has seriously affected the functioning, development and progress of these institutions.

Faced with an uncertain future, the administration of all these institutions has been trying its best to run these healthcare facilities efficiently and according to them, ever since these institutions were provincialized, the provincial government has increased their financial allocations tremendously.  Jinnah Sindh Medical University with which the JPMC was affiliated had advertised teaching posts, held interviewed and selected the faculty members to fill up a large number of vacant posts in the JPMC but final letters were not yet issued. Hence, even at present a number of units, wards of JPMC are functioning without the requisite teaching faculty which has also affected the teaching and training of Sindh Medical College students as well as postgraduates.

 NICVD administration has taken numerous initiatives and embarked upon an ambitious expansion plan. According to the administration, the provincial government had increased their financial allocations manifold which enabled them to provide paediatric cardiac surgery facilities absolutely free. NICVD administration had even announced to eventually make all the facilities including cardiac surgery free of cost in a phased programme. NICVD administration also undertook some administrative measures to initiate institutional practice by the faculty members, drastically reducing the waiting time for Echo and other investigations. The institution has been performing a record number of primary angioplasties and no patient entering the NICVD with a heart attack was being refused treatment including primary angioplasty even if they cannot afford. The patients are given the option to pay whatever they can or even pay in installments but service is not being denied and every effort is being made to save precious lives which is indeed commendable. The Federal and Provincial Governments as well as the faculty members, employees of these institutions need to sort out the issue of future set up these institutions as soon as possible. However, if this stalemate prolongs, it will have a very serious adverse effect on the services being provided by these institutions.