Claiming that the Sindh Healthcare Commission (SHCC) has completely failed to perform its responsibilities and was promoting quackery in the province instead of curbing it, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has demanded of the provincial government to immediately revamp the commission to ensure quality health service delivery and protection of rights of both patients and healthcare providers.
“Instead of improving the healthcare service delivery in the province, unfortunately, the Sindh Healthcare Commission has become a corrupt organisation, which is busy in harassing medical practitioners and healthcare providers instead of curbing quackery. This attitude would destroy the already fragile healthcare service delivery system in the province,” said Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, president of the PMA Sindh at a news conference at the PMA House Karachi on Friday.
Accompanied by Dr Rafiqu ul Hassan Khokhar, General Secretary PMA Sindh Dr. Sharif Hashmani, President PMA Karachi Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, General Secretary PMA Karachi and Dr Vasdev, Vice President PMA Sindh Dr Mirza Ali Azhar said the SHCC was the brainchild of the PMA, but, unfortunately, it was not doing its job properly and, instead, it had become part of the problem.
He maintained that healthcare commission was supposed to maintain a register of all healthcare service providers, monitor the quality and standards of the healthcare services delivered by the government, operate accreditation programmes in respect of three healthcare services, and grant accreditation to healthcare services providers who meet the prescribed criteria and standards.
“It was also entrusted with the task of enquiring and investigating into maladministration, malpractice and failures in the provision of healthcare services and issue consequential advice and orders. The commission had to advocate rights and responsibilities of recipients and providers of the healthcare services,” he said and claimed that instead of doing that corrupt officials started harassing and minting money from practitioners, both bona fide and quacks.
The commission was also assigned the task of issuing regulations, guidelines, instructions and directives to persons involved in the provision of healthcare services and take necessary steps to put a ban on quackery, but it shut off its online registration system and started frequent raids where its officials misbehaved, abused and hurled threats at healthcare providers, said Dr Azhar.
Other PMA leaders claimed that quackery was rampant as ever, no serious efforts were visible to stop this menace, and incidence of violence at healthcare facilities was on the rise, but no notice was being taken of the situation by the commission.
“The present structure of the commission is not according to the law,” said PMA Karachi President Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, demanding that the behaviour of healthcare commission people should be polite and friendly.
The process of registration should be made easy and approachable at the district level, he said. “The online facility should be restored properly. The issue of the elimination of quackery should be on top of the priority list.
The notification of six divisional representatives of the PMA should be immediately issued. The divisional representatives should be on board before any field visit and inspection of healthcare facilities,” he said, adding that an electronic media campaign for awareness of the registration of healthcare facilities should be launched immediately.