Islamabad-The previous government’s promise of establishing 45 state of the art hospitals across the country only remained a false hope as the project only existed on paper in last five years sans any implementation plan, senate body was told on Tuesday.

The meeting of the senate standing committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) held here under the chairmanship of senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh discussed two anti-smoking bills in its agenda and held a detailed briefing of functions of the health ministry and its sub-ordinate departments.

The meeting was attended by senator Ghous Muhammad Khan, senator Dilawar Khan, Senator Asad Ashraf, Senator Ashok Kumar, Senator Samina Saeed and Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen.

Briefing the committee, federal secretary NHSR&C Naveed Kamran Baloch informed that the scheme of establishing 45 state of the art hospitals across the country only existed on paper and no work on the project was done.

He said that the ministry has recently received the documents of the project after the cell established at Prime Minister (PM) house for the supervision of the project was ended along with the tenure of previous government.

“The documents received by the ministry said that there was no concrete plan of establishing of 45 hospitals,” he said.

Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) in its earlier years after forming the government had announced to establish 45 state of the art hospitals in the country and for this purpose had set a cell at PM office under the supervision of a Joint Secretary (JS).

Secretary health said that in five years, not only the scheme remained undecided but also the feasibility report was not prepared by the cell established at PM house.

“Not a single penny was spent on this scheme,” he said.

Officials of the health ministry informed the committee that Rs3billion were allocated for the project in the planning division which were to be released after the approval of the feasibility report by planning and then finance division.

“But the feasibility didn’t take its first flight,” said the officials.

Chairman committee recommended intimating the planning commission seeking the status of the funds allocation for the project announced by the previous government.

The secretary health also informed the committee that an entity ‘College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan’ is under the regulation of the ministry, but does not ‘consider’ itself answerable to the ministry.

The CP&SP is a registration body of medical professionals with the mandate of regulating excellence in medical profession.

“I will request this committee to summon the representative of CP&SP and sought his/her reply that to which authority they consider themselves answerable,” said Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch.

He said even the ministry is unaware about their work though as per rules this body is regulated by the ministry.

“We tried official correspondence with CP&SP but they don’t bother replying us,” secretary said.

The chair remarked that CP&SP claims awarding international certification to medical professionals and think them over and above the system.

Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi remarked that the ministry is the controlling authority of CP&SP and it should reply to the ministry.

The committee also sought the legal status of the Pakistan Medical and Dental council (PM&DC) after the previous regime was removed on the orders of Supreme Court (SC) and an adhoc committee was given the mandate of holding new elections of the body.

Secretary NHS told committee that the ad-hoc committee is running day to day affairs of the council and also working on the new legislation of PMDC.

Senator Ashok Kumar remarked on this occasion that the adhoc committee must finish its work before the start of new admission session to avoid the public grievances as they have to pay heavy amount to the colleges.  The chairman committee Ateeq Sheikh while expressing concerns on the pace of the work of adhoc committee recommended calling a single point agenda meeting on PMDC issues.

The committee unanimously passed the “The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) bill, 2018” moved by senator Mushahid ullah Khan while sending another bill “The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema House 9Repeal) bill 2018 to law department for further consideration.