ISLAMABAD-An official body formed on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by the Prime Minister (PM) has found irregularities in disbursement of the risk allowance to the doctors and healthcare workers of the federal capital hospital, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

Documents said that the risk allowance was disbursed amongst the admin staff which had no relevance or direct interaction in dealing with the COVID-19 patients, while doctors and other healthcare workers remained deprived of the allowance.

Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has sent a letter to the federal hospital including Federal Government Services (FGS) Polyclinic hospital and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM) on the irregularity occurred.

The ministry has also directed the hospital administration to recover the paid amount from the administration staff which does not deserve the COVID-19 risk allowance. 

The National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 by the PM found that funds were disbursed amongst admin, accounts, clerical and non-technical staff of the public sector hospitals.

The letter written by the Ministry of NHS to the NIRM and FGS Polyclinic hospital about payment of risk allowance to doctors and healthcare workers performing COVID-19 related duties said to recover the amount from admin staff within 15 days.  

The letter stated that National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister of Pakistan in its meeting held on 29th March 2020 decided to pay risk allowance to the healthcare workers performing duties related to COVID-19. It said that accordingly, the Prime Minister approved risk allowance for the doctors and healthcare workers performing COVID relating duties.

The letter also said that on receiving a large number of complaints regarding misdistribution of risk allowance, it was observed that risk allowance had not been disbursed in COVID-19, which deprived many deserving healthcare workers who directly performed duties related to COVID-19.

“The scrutiny has further revealed that most of the employees of Admin/Accounts/ Clerical and non-technical side, who otherwise have hardly any relevance to the COVID-19 related duties, have been paid risk allowance even to the tune of up to 03 months salary,” said the letter.

Ministry further said that the competent authority has therefore, directed to recover the amount of risk allowance paid to the undeserving employees who have not performed duty relating to COVID-19 within 15 days and submit report for submission to the higher forums.

Earlier, Young Doctors Association (YDA) Islamabad chapter had staged protest over alleged malpractice in distribution of health allowance.

YDA head Polyclinic hospital Dr. Sher Slam had said that distribution of health risk allowance among blue-eyed people is a shameful act by the administration.

He alleged that the hospital administration included names of their favourite people in risk allowance, showing them doctors while they were not doctors. Dr. Sher Alam also said that hospital administration has done violation of merit in the list of 897 doctors.

Dr. Aziz had said that issuing show cause notices to doctors on mentioning malpractice is unfair while the doctors, putting their lives on risk, are providing services during novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.