PESHAWAR: The long-awaited service structure for paramedics, which was approved by the provincial cabinet in its meeting on December 27, 2005 will cost an additional Rs 19 million to the NWFP government every year and benefit 8,790 paramedics, Daily Times learnt on Sunday. A decision to this effect was made in the light of the suggestions given by a sub-committee formed by the government three years ago under the chairmanship of the NWFP senior minister. According to sources, the Finance Department, which is currently giving 8,790 paramedics Rs 45 million annually in salaries, will bear the burden of additional expenditures. Sources said the government had been working on the service structure for paramedics in NWFP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for the last three years, but the Finance Department was reluctant to approve it because of additional expenditures on it. Paramedics had been demanding a service structure for long. The said that they were inducted in grade 6 and most of them retired in the same grade even after serving for 25 years. “A task force was formed in 1997 to improve the standard of paramedics’ education and enhance chances of their promotion, which recommended the government to stop training them for one year and send them to colleges for higher education,” sources said. The proposed service structure divides the staff in 54 disciplines, which are grouped in 14 categories. According to the proposed formula, 80 percent of the paramedics would move to BS-9, 12 percent to BS-12, 3.5 percent to BS-14, 2.5 percent to BS-16, 1.09 percent to BS-17, 0.09 percent to BS-18, 0.04 percent to BS-19 and 0.01 percent to BS-20. Under the new service structure, paramedics have been placed in 14 categories ? surgery, pathology, radiology, ophthalmology, cardiology, dialysis, pharmacy, pulmonology, anaesthesia, dentistry, physiotherapy, primary health care, primary health care multi-purpose and gastroenterology. The provincial government, which is paying around Rs 44.9 million in salaries to paramedics every year, will now spend Rs 46 million annually, officials said. Sources said that currently 8,308 paramedics were in BS 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, 217 in BS 10, 11 and 12, 18 in BS 14, 15 in BS 16 and 12 in BS 17. Sirajuddin Burki, provincial president of the Paramedical Association, said that many governments promised to approve the service structure but they could not. He praised the MMA government for approving the service structure.