PESHAWAR: Some senior doctors and paramedics have challenged in Peshawar High Court the cut in their share in user charges in public sector hospitals recently by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department and have requested the court to declare the relevant notification as illegal.

A writ petition was filed by 12 doctors and three paramedics including Prof Dr Malik Zeb of Hayatabad Medical Complex and Institute of Kidney Diseases, Hayatabad, stating that the provincial health secretary had in an illegal manner revised the distribution formula on account of users charges in different laboratory tests including MRI, CT Scan, HBC, HCV, etc and had drastically reduced share of doctors and paramedics.

The petitioner stated that the impugned notification was issued by the government on April 15, 2019, which was based on mala fide and should be declared null and void.

Petition filed in Peshawar High Court

The petitioners are serving in pathology and radiology departments of HMC and IKD. The petition is filed through senior advocate Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel and Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel.

The respondents in the petition are: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, secretary health, secretary finance, director general health services, accountant General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Director General Audit and Dr Nausherwan Burki, chairman of the policy board of all the medical teaching institutes (MTIs).

The petitioner state that the KP government had granted autonomy to medical teaching institutes of the province through the MTI Act, 2015, and the matters of MTI and their internal working related to their teaching faculty is to be performed under the said law.

They state that the provincial government had issued a notification on April 13, 2005, whereby a formula for user charges in MTI and other hospitals was devised. Under that formula, they stated, after deduction of five per cent of depreciation charges and five per cent tool kit charges, in the remaining 90 per cent amount 25 per cent share was given to doctors, 10 per cent to paramedics and 60 per cent to government.

They contended that now without taking into confidence the major stakeholders through the impugned notification the depreciation charges was increased to 50 per cent and five per cent went to cost of material kits.

They added that out of the remaining 45 per cent, the share of government was increased to 70 per cent, whereas share of doctors and paramedics would now be 12 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

They contended that in the notification, it had been mentioned that it was in compliance of an order passed by the high court in 2013. Interestingly, they said, the suo motu writ petition was dismissed finally being not maintainable as according to a judgment by Supreme Court in “Dr Imran Khan Khattak vs Sofia Waqar PSO to Chief Justice PHC”, the high courts had no jurisdiction to take suo motu action and only an aggrieved party could approach the high court by filing an application.

They contended that now the MTI Reforms Act had been passed and MTIs were autonomous bodies and the secretary had no jurisdiction to issue a notification for determining shares of different stake holders in the user charges.

They contended that the impugned notification was issued on directives of Dr Nausherwan Burki as he had grudges against the doctors.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2019