PESHAWAR: Several doctors receiving pathology training have moved the Peshawar High Court against the withdrawal of their special allowance by the health department for five months.

The petitioners totalling 26 and including both men and woman requested the court to declare illegal the Feb 18 impugned notification issued by the provincial health secretary for the withdrawal of the Rs30,000 allowance meant for unattractive specialties.

In the joint petition, they sought the court’s orders for the respondents, including the health secretary, first to resume the allowance payment from the date it was stopped and second not to suspend that payment in future on any account.

Insist dept violated commitment by stopping payment for unattractive specialties

The respondents in the petition are the KP government through chief secretary, health secretary, director general (health services), provincial finance secretary, chief executive officer of the Post Graduate Medical Institute, Peshawar, and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.

The petition filed through senior lawyers Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel and Saifullah Muhib said 13 of the petitioners are Senior Diploma in Clinical Pathology (DCP) trainees (2nd year) at Department of Pathology, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, whereas the rest were DCP Trainees (1st year) at the same hospital.

The petitioners said the field of Pathology and clinical Pathology were declared Unattractive Specialty as few doctors used to join it.

They said the doctors having specialisation in other areas of medicine earned good and lived a better life than a doctor with a specialty like pathology and clinical pathology.

The petitioners said the health secretary had declared specialties like hematology, anesthesia intensive care, emergency medicine, new pathology (new born), radiology etc as unattractive specialties and it was decided that Rs30,000 per month incentive/unattractive allowance would be paid to the trainees and house officers of those specialties.

They said different notifications were issued on Sept 9, 2015, Mar 19, 2016 and Mar 31, 2016.

The petitioners claimed that after issuance of the said notifications many medical doctors were attracted to the fields declared as Unattractive Specialties due to the incentive of Rs30,000 per month and other benefits.

They said they had also opted for unattractive specialties and began their diploma in clinical pathology (DCP) but the respondent (health secretary) had issued the impugned notification in which the incentive so given to the unattractive specialties had been withdrawn in utter violation of their commitment to the trainees / medical officers etc.

The petitioners said the withdrawal of the right so given under a promise that the government will keep the incentive intact during their training and joining the fields which were unattractive in the medical arena, was illegal and unjustified.

They said they approached the health secretary, who rejected their request for the continuation of that payment.

The petitioners requested the court to allow them interim relief by suspending action on the impugned notification until the disposal of the petition.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019