Unfinished business: Mayo’s Surgical Tower fails to meet deadline again

‘Not a single facility at the hospital’s tower is functional eight years into the project’.


Ali Usman May 10, 2014
The project had been started on April 6, 2006, during former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s tenure.. PHOTO: MAYOHOSPITAL.GOP.PK

LAHORE:


The Surgical Tower at Mayo Hospital has, once again, failed to meet a completion deadline.


Former Mayo Hospital medical superintendent Dr Zahid Pervaiz had told The Express Tribune that the project would be completed by December 31.  Now serving as the health services director general, he says he is no longer engaged with the project.  Pervaiz had said in May 2012 that 85 per cent of the work was complete.

“I don’t know about the new deadline set for the competition of the project. We missed the deadline last time due to budget issues”, Pervaiz said. The officials associated with the project said the project was nowhere near completion.

The project had been started on April 6, 2006, during former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s tenure.

A doctor associated with the project said the project was initiated in 2004 as a trauma centre. Later its name was changed. “This is probably the only Health Department project that has undergone such major changes. The work started in 2006 and was meant to be completed in three years. Eight years have passed and not a single facility at the tower is functional.”

According to project documents the Tower was meant to have four major surgical wards, 350 beds and model class rooms so that students could watch live surgeries at hospitals in the UK. It was to have a state-of-the-art skills laboratory for surgeons, conference rooms and rooms for private patients.

In 2009, the capacity was increased to 800 beds. According to a senior doctor, who has also been associated with the project, there was a proposal to demolish floors that had already been constructed. This plan was dropped when the contractor refused to demolish the floors unless he was paid the Rs8.5 million he had spent on construction by them. The number of beds was then fixed at 521. “Among doctors, the Surgical Tower is referred to as a white elephant of Mayo Hospital. Every 20 days, its plan undergoes a change. Eight years have passed and if it takes a few more years to complete, repairs will need to begin within another two or three years,” the doctor added.

Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Amjad Shehzad said the new deadline set was February 15, 2015. “The project is now a six storey building and will have 532 beds. Mayo Hospital will have 2,600 beds when this project is completed. The cost of the project is Rs2.1 billion,” he said.

Health Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir said there had been some managerial issues in relation to the project.

“I have been asked to complete the project by February 15, 2016. This project will be functional by then,” he maintained.  

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2014.

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