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SZMCH probe body penalises doctor `harassed` by male colleagues

By Irfanul Haq 2022-08-21
RAHIM YAR KHAN: The Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital (SZMCH) administration has been hiding a case of workplace harassment against a woman doctor for the last five months, that resulted in transfer of doctors and other staffers from the emergency ward, while the complainant was also penalised by an internal inquiry committee.

According to SZMCH Emergency Unit Deputy Me dical Superintendent (DMS) Dr Farhana Khalid, she was performing her duty in the emergency paediatric ward when, DMS Dr Iqbal Malik, and some other doctors, Ending her alonein her room, used abusive language against her.

Later, on the application of Dr Farhana, SZMCH Women Harassment Committee Chairperson Dr Shazia Majid, PrincipalMedicalOfficer(PMO) Dr Mushtaq Azmi and Assistant Medical Superintendent (AMS) Dr Ambreen Bhatti probed into the matter and submitted the recommendations to the medical superintendent (MS) on May 26, 2022.

The letter of recommendation reads: `It is stated that workplace harassment charge has been proved against Dr Iqbal Malik DMS Emergency.

The committee recommended that Dr Malik should be relieved from the institution, placing his services at the disposal ofSpecialized Health Care and Medical Education (SHC&ME) department as a minor penalty.

It also recommended that Dr Farhana should also be relieved from emergency department as a minor penalty and she should not be given any administrative post in future.

The committee said Dr Amir Hameed, ex-director emergency, should be inquired under the PEEDA ACT because he was not monitoring departmental attendance register, rather he was involved in criminal activity of not reporting the absence of Dr Maria Ghaffar and Dr Aemen Samad, both EMOs of the Emergency Department.

The both women medical officers (WMOs) had been receiving regular salaries in spite ofremaining absent from their place of duty for the period of one month. Dr Amir Hameed took no action against the two parties when they were defaming the institution, the committee found.

It recommended that Dr Maaz Qasim, Dr Muhammad Ali Khan, Dr Usman Nasir, Dr Sidra Rehman, Dr Tabinda Khan and Dr Aemen Samad should be issued a warning.

It said Dr Sundus Naeem, EMO/DMS, should be terminated from service as she did not bother to appear before the inquiry committee in spite of repeated warnings.

After these recommendations, SZMCH MS Dr Agha Touhid, through letter No.26120-25/SZH dated July 27, 2022 reported toSHC&ME department secretary that in the light of inquiry said doctors have been found guilty of misconduct, hence strict action might be initiated against them as per rules.

Dr Farhana Khalid told this correspondent that Dr Shazia Majid declared her guilty in the inquiry report despite the fact that she was harassed by a group of doctors.

She said that she would approach the higher forum to get justice.

SZMCH spokesperson DMS Rana Ilyas Ahmed told Dawn that the final decision on the issue of harassment and other incidences of misconduct would be taken by the the department`s secretary being the competent authority.