LAHORE: While Punjab’s health ministers claim to provide the best facilities in public hospitals of the province, the hospitals at their own constituencies lack basic facilities, Pakistan Today has learnt.
To run the health department, Punjab government has appointed two ministers by giving them separate portfolios. Khawaja Imran Nazir, the minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare, while Khawaja Salman Rafique is the minister for Provincial Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education.
Khawaja Imran Nazir won from PP-137 while Khawaja Salman Rafique became MPA after winning PP-142 constituency of the Punjab province.
Interestingly, both the ministers often claim of taking suitable measures of providing best facilities in the public hospitals of Punjab. Contrary to this, the situation of the hospitals present in their constituencies exposes their claims.
Just two days ago, Khawaja Imran Nazir claimed that Punjab government had introduced new initiatives and reforms in the health sector which can be seen in the working of public hospitals and other health programs in Punjab. He expressed these views while addressing the monthly conference of medical superintendents of districts and tehsil headquarters hospitals in a local hotel.
The Government Shahdra Teaching Hospital, which falls under the constituency of Khawaja Imran Nazir, could not function properly despite having the required equipment. According to a report available with Pakistan Today, this very hospital received 10 ventilators two years ago which had to be installed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The report reads that the hospital administration used only one of the ventilators.
During a visit to the hospital, it was observed that the ICU ward of the hospital was being used as a general ward where ventilators could be witnessed with plastic bags wrapped around them.
A doctor on duty seeking anonymity told Pakistan Today that the hospital also had a dialysis centre but to date, no patient of hepatitis C could be treated there and were referred to other hospitals. He informed that the government had upgraded this teaching hospital after spending rupees three billion but it failed to appoint the required staff to keep it up to the mark as many important posts were lying vacant.
The doctor further informed that this 300 beds hospital hardly can accommodate 50 patients at a time.
Moreover, the cardiology centre of the hospital was also not fully functional as one of the necessary equipment—aerotic balloon, which was worth rupees four million, remained unused.
Government also remained reluctant to maintain another pubic hospital—Government Nawaz Sharif Teaching Hospital, Yakki Gate, which falls under the constituency of Khawaja Salman Rafique.
According to a government report, currently, this teaching hospital is facing acute shortage of staff which badly hampers the efficiency of the hospital.
Report says that the at least 19 posts of specialist doctors are vacant here. These posts are General Medicine, General Surgery, Neuro Surgery, Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT), Nephrology and Pathology while it also faces shortage of 56 senior medical officers, 36 additional principal medical officers and 9 principal medical officers.
In 2012, the government built a modern trauma centre consisting of 70 beds which could not be fully functional despite passing of five years. The insiders informed Pakistan Today that the basic reason of failure in running the trauma centre was lack of required staff.