LAHORE - Secretary Health Punjab on Thursday forwarded a summary to the Regulations Wing of the Services and General Administration Department, seeking relaxation in rules to appoint medics from general cadre as Assistant Professors, The Nation has learnt. The Secretary Health has sought relaxation in Rule 11 of the Punjab Civil Servants (Appointment & Conditions of Service) Rules 1974 to consider Medical Officers/Women Medical Officers (BPS-17), Senior Medical Officers/Senior Women Medical Officers (BPS-18) and Additional Principal Medical Officers/Additional Principal Women Medical Officers (BPS-9) for appointment in the teaching cadre as APs (BPS-18) by transfer. Relaxation in Rule 11 will enable the government to consider medics not appointed through Punjab Public Service Commission and as such those getting appointment though Selection Board or political and family connections will be able to grab important posting in teaching cadre. Interestingly, the government has also stuck to the previous stance of setting a cut-off date of January 1, 2009, thus rendering those who attained the required qualification after the said date or before 1995 ineligible for selection as APs. Not only those who got post-graduation with updated syllabus but also Senior Registrars with better qualification, expertise and proper selection through PPSC will be ineligible for selection as APs. Previously, when the said move was made in the year 2009, there was hardly any SR but now over 350 senior medics are holding the important portfolio in various teaching hospitals. The general cadre doctors, having strong political influence and connections in the Health Department, have managed to retain the said formula to force the medics with superior qualifications and expertise out of the competition. After the implementation of this formula, there will be hardly any vacancy of AP for the elevation of existing SRs. Not only the SRs, but also those who got post-graduation after 1996 in first attempt, with up dated syllabus according to international standards, will be deprived of the AP slots for several years. Secondly, the general cadre doctors in race for the AP slots due to the said formula attained post-graduation prior to the up gradation of syllabus and that too after several attempts and in most cases crossing over 20 appearances. Even the general cadre medics in BPS-19 are enthusiastic to grab the AP slot in BPS-18 to force their entry in the teaching cadre to get more market value in the shape of good private practice and lucrative salary when gone abroad for job. Talking to The Nation, President Post Graduate Doctors Association Dr M Abdul Rauf said that general cadre medics in BPS-19 were vying for AP slot in inferior grade with the purpose to enter teaching cadre to enhance their market value. He was of the view that this exercise on the part of the government would cause a serious blow to service delivery at public sector hospitals as these doctors lacked up-to-date qualification and proper expertise. He said that instead of accommodating those who got post-graduation under depleted syllabus and that too in several attempts, the government should fill the vacant posts of APs after proper advertisement and through competitive examination to be carried by the PPSC to give equal opportunities to more qualified doctors. The word fitness in the phrase of seniority cum fitness shall mean a high degree of insight in the academics and practical know how of the respective discipline and not merely to qualify a post graduate degree by availing chances after chances until one qualifies it, he said, adding that an objective criterion should be devised to qualify the word fitness so that old MOs with out-dated knowledge could be excluded. Filling all AP slots with these medics from general cadre will leave no room to accommodate those having post-graduation in minor specialities like nephrology, pulmonology, cardiology and others in various fields. Post-graduation in minor specialities was started after 1995 and absence of these experts will render the healthcare centres established after spending huge amount useless, he said.