KARACHI: The Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) is facing an acute shortage of employees, including doctors, nurses and other staff, as no recruitment has been carried out in the last seven years, hospital sources revealed.
At present, a total of 623 positions are lying vacant and despite an urgent need, no qualified staffers and doctors have been appointed. Sources at the hospital told The Express Tribune that the shortage of staff has posed various problems for the public as well as the smooth functioning of one of the largest public hospitals in the city.
In all, 123 grade-8 posts for doctors need to be filled, while the remaining 500 posts for non-technical and support staff are also lying vacant, including 300 posts for grade-1 to grade-5 staffers and 200 posts for grade-6 to grade-14 staffers.
The posts are vacant in departments of hospitality services, kitchen, transport, general store, sanitation, laundry, workshop, electrical, mechanical, wooden workshops, security, administration, accounts, ancillary staff and the telephone exchange.
Apart from the shortage of staffers and doctors, the emergency department of the hospital is under renovation for the past one year which has made it very difficult for the hospital to tend to emergency cases in an efficient manner.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, the administrative head of the hospital, Dr Khadim Hussain said that in 2018, around 15,000 candidates submitted applications for appointments on 300 vacant posts of grade-I to grade-5 officers. Thousands of candidates were even interviewed for the positions, but there was no follow up after that. The positions still remain vacant.
“Applicants were also shortlisted, however, at the directives of the higher officials, their recruitment was postponed,” he said. “Interviews were also carried out in 2017 to fill 160 ward boy vacancies but nothing was revealed by the authorities about their selections. Hence, the posts could not be filled.”
Dr Hussain revealed that the situation has worsened because many employees have retired and no appointments have been carried out to replace them.
“As part of the recruitment process, written tests were conducted by a private firm for grade-5 to grade-14 posts but no further progress was seen despite a lapse of two years,” he said.
Dr Hussain told The Express Tribune that he informed the health department secretariat about the empty posts and appointment delays, and how the shortage was causing problems for both patients and the hospital. Despite the complaint, no action was taken in this regard.
Concerning the delays in the renovation of the emergency department, Dr Hussain explained that the repair work was being carried out at a snail’s pace and nothing was done to expedite it.
“Owing to the non-availability of the emergency department, patients are facing a lot of problems. Hospital authorities wrote several letters to the engineer of the works department to look into the issue and speed up the renovation and repair work but it all fell on deaf ears.”
Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi is the largest teaching hospital in Karachi. It is a 1,900-bed tertiary care public hospital that imparts both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2019.