Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is facing a critical shortage of Grade 20 posts for paramedics, with the existing and sole Grade 20 position remaining vacant. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 paramedics in KP, but the promised expansion of higher-grade positions has not been fulfilled by the government.
In 2016, the KP government had assured paramedics that as their numbers increased, additional seats for Grades 19 and 20 would be created annually. However, despite the passage of several years, this commitment remains unfulfilled. Paramedics had hoped for greater career progression opportunities but have been left disappointed.
Imtiaz, the chief clinical technologist of Maulvi Jee Hospital Peshawar, expressed concerns about the unmet promises. He highlighted that the only Grade 20 post for paramedics was introduced eight years ago and has yet to be filled. Imtiaz emphasized the unfairness in the distribution of Grade 20 positions, as nurses, with a strength of 6,000, have received 12 Grade 20 posts, while paramedics have been left with just one.
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Imtiaz questioned the competence of doctors, who have not specialized in paramedical sciences, being responsible for overseeing paramedic institutions. He argued that paramedic institutions should be managed by qualified professionals who have pursued advanced degrees in the field. Many paramedics in KP hold MPhil and Ph.D. degrees but are being overlooked for career advancement, he added.
Furthermore, Imtiaz raised concerns about the appointment of unqualified individuals to key positions within the KP Medical Faculty, adversely impacting the quality of diagnostic services. He stressed the urgent need for qualified paramedics and nurses to be appointed in government hospitals to ensure proper treatment facilities for the economically disadvantaged population.
Imtiaz highlighted the disparity between private healthcare institutions, where expensive treatment is readily available, and government hospitals, which lack essential facilities.
Imtiaz demanded that the KP government increase the number of Grade 19 and 20 posts for paramedics, along with addressing other pressing issues within the healthcare system.
In response, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department Director HR Fazal acknowledged that nurses are recruited at Grade 16, while paramedics are recruited at Grade 12, resulting in more opportunities for career development in subsequent grades.
Fazal emphasized that the process for increasing higher-grade posts has its own procedures, and if the number of paramedic staff has indeed risen, evidence should be provided to initiate the appropriate procedure for creating additional positions.
The paramedics continue to call upon the government to fulfill their demands by increasing grade 19 and 20 posts and rectifying the recruitment process to ensure qualified individuals are appointed.