Challenge ahead: Nearly 40% senior posts empty in public hospitals

Health dept to hire doctors on contract basis.

Our Correspondent July 21, 2013
Patients have to travel long distances for treatment in absence of doctors in their home districts. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: One of the major challenges for the experts working group (EWG) formed by the provincial government is the shortage of qualified doctors because of which majority of senior posts in hospitals remain vacant.

According to data obtained from the provincial health department, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government had sanctioned 1,804 posts of grade 17 and 18 in tehsil and headquarter hospitals as well as district health offices (DHOs) across the province. Of these, nearly 40% or 741 posts are vacant.

Patients have to travel long distances for treatment in absence of doctors in their home districts.

The health department is now looking for temporary solutions. “The government is planning to hire the services of doctors on all vacant posts across the province on a temporary basis until the positions can be filled,” said an official of the health secretariat.

The data shows that in Lower Dir 20 out of 29 posts of Grade-18 and 19 and 46 Grade-17 posts are lying vacant since months. In the same district, 50 out of 89 positions in DHOs are empty. Upper Dir trails closely behind with 46 out of 48 posts of Grade-18 and 23 of 86 posts of Grade-17 in tehsil and district headquarter hospitals lying vacant.

Kohistan is also facing a shortage of doctors as 35 out of 42 and four out of six posts are vacant for Grade 17 of Grade-18 respectively. Mardan has the same problem where there is no doctor of BPS-18 on 17 posts out of 30 sanctioned, while 36 out of 54 on BPS-17 are vacant.

The data shows that 29 out of 76 posts in Mansehra, 12 out of 17 in Shangla, 28 out of 42 in Karak, 14 out of 65 in Swat and 23 out of 57 in Abbottabad are vacant.

Working groups were formed nearly a month ago to accomplish the provincial government’s goals with respect to education, health, local government, and e-governance.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.

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