LAHORE The Punjab government has convened a meeting of the Service Rules Committee for July 7 to consider Secretary Healths proposal regarding relaxation in rules to appoint doctors from the general cadre as assistant professors, TheNation has learnt. Health Secretary Jehanzeb Khan had forwarded a summary to the Regulations Wing of the Services and General Administration Department about a week ago, seeking relaxation in Rule 11 of the Punjab Civil Servants (Appointment & Conditions of Service) Rules 1974 to consider doctors inthe general cadre for appointment in the teaching cadre as APs by transfer. Secretary Regulations Ch Muhammad Ilyas has called meeting of the SRC to consider proposal of Secretary Health to settle the issue of appointment of general cadre medics as the APs by superseding senior registrars. The issue has already brought PMA Punjab and other medics bodies face to face, heralding start of yet another controversy, this time not with the government alone but also between representative bodies of the medical community. The PMA Punjab delegation has recently met Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Mahmood Khosa and Secretary Health to press for early convening the SRC meeting to amend rules for enabling posting of general cadre doctors as APs. Later, female medics aggrieved by the proposed formula also held meeting with Additional Secretary Health Waseem Mukhtar and Secretary Regulations to convince them that amendment in service rules would prove fatal for the health sector. The insiders, however, said that insistence of the health secretary on amending rules would leave no option for the SRC to accept the proposal. Medical Teachers Association, Young Doctors Association, Postgraduate Doctors Association and PMA Punjab (Equity) have joined hands to resist the move of relaxing service rules for changing cadre of medics. The PMA Punjab, led by its President Dr Ashraf Nizami, is favouring the idea of accommodating senior medics in teaching cadre, taking plea that these doctors have the required qualification to serve as APs. However, Dr Nizami was not available for comments. The MTA, YDA, PDA and PMA (Equity), however, is resisting the move on the ground that all vacant posts should be filled on merit and through a competitive examination. These medics bodies are said to be holding a joint press conference on Tuesday (today) to unveil action plan in case the government continued to go ahead with the move of amending service rules. These bodies will also hold doctors convention at the Services Hospital on July 18 to seek assistance, and take the community into confidence over the issue. Talking to TheNation, MTA Punjab General Secretary Dr Tehseen Riaz said cadre of these medics should not be changed and if it was necessary, proper procedure should be adopted to ensure merit. There is no justification of relaxing rules to fill vacant seats of APs under a certain formula. This move will deprive competent and qualified Senior Registrars as the formula suits only few doctors. The plea of filling AP slots in such a way in accordance with the court orders was not justified as there was no cut-off date in the summary presented before the Lahore High Court. He said some influential doctors made the formula and mentioned a cut-off date to accommodate few medics which was injustice and violation of merit, he added. He said if these doctors were needed to be promoted, they should not supersede their seniors and be placed below the existing senior registrars. YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt said there was no justification of ignoring SRs having teaching experience and appointing MOs, WMOs, SMOs, SMWOs, APMOs and APWMOs as APs, who do not have the pre-requisite experience and qualification. These medics should not supersede SRs. These medics should be made SRs and SRs should be promoted as APs, suggested Dr Butt. He maintained that violation of merit would totally distort health service structure and damage delivery at all tiers of health provision facilities since the very sense of injustice would permeate the medic community.