PIMS status as health ministry attached department restored

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President Alvi upholds major penalty against a woman harasser

President signs PIMS 2022 bill revoking BoG set-up for hospital

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday finally signed the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill 2022 which he had earlier returned to the government for reconsideration.

The bill titled “Federal Medical Teaching Institute Repeal Bill 2022” provides for repealing the Federal Medical Teaching Institute Act 2021.

The parliament had passed the amended bill in its joint session on December 20, 2022. The president on Tuesday gave his assent to the bill under Article 75 of the Constitution.

The PIMS bill was a long standing issue, something that needed to be undone as according to PIMS employees and staff, Imran Khan’s government through “Federal Medical Teaching Institute (MTI) Bill 2021” had brought the hospital and their career to the brink of disaster. The 2021 bill made the hospital an autonomous body and consequently the PIMS employees and staff had come on roads protesting the new status.

According to details, President Alvi in November 2020 had promulgated the MTI ordinance suggesting that the hospital would be run through a Board of Governors (BoG). According to the ordinance, the BoG would deal with all the affairs of the PIMS. Its members were appointed and notified by the ministry of NHS on the recommendation of a search and nomination council. Later, despite protest by PIMS employees, the ordinance sailed through the parliament as “Federal Medical Teaching Institute (MTI) Bill 2021.”

The current coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, after coming to power made it a point to undo the BoG set up and repealed it through the parliament.

According to the Bill, PIMS was established in 1985 as a tertiary care hospital/research centre. “The institute comprises nine components – five hospitals and four teaching institutes i.e. Islamabad Hospital, Children Hospital, MCH, Burn Care Centre, Cardiac Care Centre, College of Medical Technology, College of Nursing, School of Dentistry and Quaid-i-Azam Postgraduate Medical Centre,” it said.

“The institute was working smoothly but during the previous regime its status was changed from an attached department of the federal government to an autonomous body due to which the ailing humanity and federal government servants have been suffering a lot and the service standards in the hospital are deteriorating day by day. Moreover, Pims employees have become frustrated,” it said. “Keeping in view the above situation it is proposed that the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Act 2021 (Act No.XII of 2021) may be repealed and the department may be declared as an attached department of Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) for smooth functioning and improvement of the Institute,” it stated.

The Parliament on December 20, 2022 passed the Bill but President Alvi returned it for reconsideration. However, the President ‘reconsidered’ his own decision and signed the bill on Tuesday which thus attained legal status.