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PMA warns SHCC to revise its anti-doctor policies

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association(PMA) said that the Sindh Healthcare Commission (SHCC) has failed to introduce a comprehensive strategy to eradicate quackery from the Sindh province, and the SHCC is not playing its role effectively.

These expressed by President, PMA Sindh, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, and General Secretary, PMA Karachi, Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, in a joint press conference held at the PMA House.

Dr Mirza Ali Azhar said that the basic purpose of the formation of the SHCC was to register doctors and healthcare facilities and to act swiftly if there was a complaint of any sort at any healthcare facility.

He lamented that the SHCC has miserably failed to come up clean in its performance. As far as the registration of doctors is concerned, low-grade officials of the SHCC visit doctors, misbehave with them and seal their clinics with no valid reason.

He explained that the usual practice of family physician clinics is that the clinic is opened at least 30 to 40 minutes before the arrival of the doctor. The boys clean the premises and settle things before the arrival of the doctor. In the meantime, patients start coming, sit in the clinic, and wait for the doctor. This is the time when these officials of the SHCC barge in the premises and claim that the patients are being treated by the “compounders” in the absence of the doctor. Then they seal the clinic, and the process of humiliation of the doctor continues. It seems that doctors are being treated as criminals. Secondly, cases of alleged negligence and/or complications are also being mishandled as against the law; very frequently, FIRs are registered against the doctors. The SHCC is not playing its role effectively.

President, PMA Sindh, said that there is no policy to check the menace of quackery. In a way, the SHCC is promoting quackery by registering a considerable number of Hakims/Homeopaths, who are doing illegal allopathic practice with the connivance of the SHCC officials who are supposedly taking protection money from these so-called registered doctors.

Dr Ghafoor Shoro said that the PMA as a stakeholder has always been helpful to the SHCC and wanted it to be a successful regulatory body without any corruption and mismanagement. However, now the situation is very rapidly progressing from bad to worst.

He said that the PMA had been compelled to bring this matter to all concerned parties with the help of the media. We warn very strictly that if the behaviour of the SHCC does not change, we as a stakeholder will go to the court of law and challenge all the unlawful activities of the SHCC. Our doctors are extremely enraged.

He said although the PMA, as per its policy, does not support strikes and the closure of health facilities, in these circumstances, we will be helpless if those enraged doctors decide to come on the streets. The PMA in no way will be responsible for any loss of life and patient management mishaps that occur during this period.

Dr Shoro said that the PMA has decided to bring this matter to the notice of the higher judiciary, the government of Sindh at every level, and the media. The PMA will write letters to everyone who matters, and they will be released by the media accordingly.

They appealed to the SHCC to consider revising its present policy; otherwise, the onus of the deteriorating situation regarding health delivery systems will be entirely on the SHCC.

April 13, 2021

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