LAHORE - In the absence of the Punjab Minister Health - never appointed after formation of the provincial government in the province - a number of health issues of urgent nature remain unattended. A PML-N parliamentarian with heavy heart disclosed that the top leadership of his party is not in a hurry to appoint the Health Minister, nor feel any urgency to take up the issue with the PPP as if already shelved the issue for the time being despite pressure from influential quarters in the party. It was further learnt that some PML-N MPAs with their eyes set on the coveted post have been asked to keep quiet otherwise they will be taken to task. The delay in the appointment of Health Minister coincided with doctors staging protests on the roads for their genuine demands; complaints regarding provision of health services to the people are on the rise; several posts at all the teaching hospitals, RHCs, and THQs, are lying vacant, while many important projects are still incomplete due to lack of supervision besides promotion matters of the doctors have been dragged on. All these issues need immediate attention from the top but due to the absence of health minister remain unattended. It is pertinent to mention here that an organisation of doctors 'Young Doctors Association' has been agitating on the roads for the last three months. They are demanding increase in salaries, promotions and job security in the hospitals. Since their agitation, nobody from the Punjab government including the Punjab Secretary Health, tried to intervene and listen to their complaints. A senior doctor of the King Edward Medical University, Lahore said that a large number of doctors are facing great difficulties in getting promotions. He said the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) did not discuss their cases in its several meetings held in the past as the meetings were postponed due to unknown reasons. The matter was brought to the knowledge of the Punjab Secretary Health but he paid no heed to their complaints, he said. Similarly, tension between institutes is increasing with the passage of time. For instance, the KEMU and the UHS managements are ustilising their energies against each other on some issues. It has been learnt that the PPP has finalised names of its parliamentarians for some ministries in Punjab following 40-60 formula. PPP MPA Dr Tanveer-ul-Islam of Daska, Sialkot, has been again been announced as a minister for Health Punjab. After the formation provincial Cabinet months ago, Dr Tanveer-ul-Islam was declared as health minister but later the Punjab government withdrew this department from him on the request of PML-N leaders. Many PML-N MPAs who are also professional doctors are contender of this top slot. After PPP withdrew the name of Dr Tanveer, the PML-N parliamentarians again geared up their efforts for the said ministry. They tried to prevail over Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif through their supporters in the party but became disappointed when their supports quoting the PML-N top leadership informed them that the both leaders were not willing to take up issue urgently or without taking PPP into confidence. PML-N top leaders also advised the main contenders not to discuss the issue of health ministry at any forum in future otherwise they would be taken to task. A PML-N leader disclosed that former Chief Minister Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa had also expressed his desire to become Health Minister. He conveyed his desire to Shahbaz Sharif through a common friend in this regard. It is also reliably learnt that with so many departments without their ministers, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is having the additional charge of at least 17 ministries including the health lying vacant since the formation of PML-N government in Punjab. Sources disclosed that the health issues that should be addressed at the level of minister are being referred to Chief Minister these days. In the absence of the Minister Health Punjab, many health issues remained unsolved as the Secretary Health Punjab and other health officers appear helpless in addressing all the problems. The Health Minister is considered as bridge between the department and the Punjab government who provides political input in policy making pertaining to health sector. He looks after health affairs, and plays an instrumental role in implementing the government policies over and above the bureaucracy. He holds meetings and visits institutes. He also plays his role in resolving issues where other failed due to his influence as a politician.