NA body reacts strongly

ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on Health here on Tuesday strongly reacted to the Governments bizarre move to by pass the Parliament in finalising the new Health Policy. The Committee that met under the chairmanship of Dr Nadeem Ehsan was surprised to know that the Ministry had submitted the new Health Policy to the cabinet without taking inputs from the members. Strong reaction was witnessed from the members, Was the Ministry not supposed to take inputs from us, objected a member. After the Committees agitation, the Federal Health Minister Makhdoom Shahbudin assured the members to provide the copy of the policy and their inputs would be taken as well. The Committee also directed the Health Ministry to write a letter to the Interior Ministry for tightening security of major hospitals in the country. The decision was taken in the wake of the recent attack on Jinnah Hospital, Lahore. The Ministry of Health was also directed to take steps to end ad-hocism culture in hospitals and appoint Eds on permanent basis. Secretary Health Khushnood Lashari apprised the Committee about the proposal submitted to the PM for revising pay scales of hospital staff from ward boy to doctors. The Committee also recommended that the administration of Basic Health Units should be registered with the Ministry of Health instead of the interior Ministry. Upon this, the Health Minister assured the body that he would soon take up the matter with the Interior Ministry. The Minister also pointed out the shortage of required funds allocation to the health sector, as Rs 29 billion were allocated for the year 2009-10, however only Rs 8 billion were released to the Ministry. Meanwhile Secretary Health informed the Committee that the Ministry had also contacted UAE Government to release funds for the proposed hospital to be built in corporation with UAE. UAE has committed to release the funds subjected to the training of technical staff and almost 42 paramedics are under training in Sheik Zaid Hospital, Lahore in this regard. The Committee also endorsed the proposals regarding two holidays in a week for hospital staff and increase in working hours from 8 am to 5 pm for the outdoor patients. The Minister also informed the Committee that Ministry of Health was spending almost Rs 1 million daily for the provision of free medicines to the patients in polyclinic.

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