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Little chance of promotion makes district specialist cadre unattractive in KP

PESHAWAR: The district specialists working in district headquarters, tehsil headquarters and teaching hospitals have been waiting for promotion to next grades for several years due to non-implementation of the second phase of the three-tier formula approved by the government.

Most of the doctors working as district specialists have little chances of promotion to upper grades because of the government’s rules.

A doctor, who has been working as medical officer under health department since 2002 and completed specialisation five years ago, is called a district specialist in BPS-18.

The experience of such a doctor as medical officer is not taken into account for his/her promotion.

The date of his/her appointment as district specialist is taken into account for promotion.

Experts fear collapse of health delivery system in coming years

“In the existing hierarchy of the health department, district specialist is the most neglected and ignored section of the employees,” said sources.

According to a health department’s notification of January 2014, a district specialist is inducted in BPS-18 and is promoted to BPS-19 after seven-year experience while another 12-year experience was required to be promoted to BPS-20.

Sources said that their experience of working as medical officer in BPS-17 was not counted in the promotion process owing to which many doctors were reluctant to join the cadre.

“This rule is the main hindrance in the way of getting to upper grades,” they added.

As opposed to district specialist, a general cadre doctor is recruited in BPS-17 and gets promotion to BPS-20 after 15 years of services under the existing formula devised by the government.

“Interestingly, a district specialist heads different departments in hospital where scores of medical officers, senior medical officers and casualty medical officers in BPS-17, 18, 19 and 20 work under his control despite the fact that he is in BPS-18, which is a big question mark on the health department’s chain of command,” said sources.

This is why creation of BPS-21 posts for district specialist in various specialties has been a longstanding demand of the doctors to attract more specialists to the cadre and ensure better administration for the sake of patients’ care.

Medical experts said that lack of proper procedure for the promotion of district specialist needed immediate attention otherwise the health delivery system would collapse in the coming years because the specialists were staying away to be posted as district specialists, owing to bleak chances of promotion.

The government implemented a three-tier formula for promotion of district specialists in 2017-18 under which 50 per cent upgradations were done in the first phase but the remaining 50 per cent are awaiting promotions.

No new posts of BPS-18 were created but the existing district specialists in BPS-18 were promoted to BPS-19 and from BPS-19 to BPS-20 in hospitals that benefitted some of them.

According to formula, the government was required to promote the rest of the district specialists in 2018-19 in the second phase, which is yet to be implemented.

As a result, most of the district specialists retire in BPS-19 and BPS-20 because of the strict formula of establishment department.

There is not a single post of grade 21 in specialist cadre in the whole province while only five posts in BPS-21 are reserved for management cadre.

Most of the district specialists have been awaiting implementation of the second phase of the three-tier formula and want creation of new posts in BPS-18 to open chances of promotions for the existing lot.

“District specialist is becoming a dying cadre which isn’t a good omen for government’s plan to strengthen secondary healthcare services,” said sources.

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