One of the three allied medical facilities in the city, Holy Family Hospital (HFH), is facing severe staff shortage and lack of lifesaving medication and equipment.
Patients and their attendants often protest the lack of facilities and paramedical staff at the 984-bed hospital. At present, the hospital has 150 specialist doctors, while it is said to require close to 300.
The hospital has an annual budget of Rs1.25 billion, of which 72 per cent is spent on staff salaries and related expenses, with the remaining 28 per cent spent on treatment facilities.
The hospital has been overburdened for the last few years, and needs Rs2.5 billion annually to adequately meet its expenditure requirements, according to the hospital’s management.
The hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine has been out of order for the last year, according to hospital officials, who added that Rs200 million has been allocated for purchasing a new MRI machine for which a PC-I is being prepared.
The out-patient department (OPD) of the hospital receives between 1,800 and 2,000 patients daily, with over 1,000 emergency patients. In the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance, the hospital’s facilities, doctors and paramedical staff are put under immense pressure.
The hospital has facilities and department for surgery, medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology (ENT), dental, nephrology, liver and physiotherapy. Due to the increasing number of patients however, urgent improvements to the HFH’s infrastructure are required.
Attendants for patients in the hospital’s gynaecology ward often protest against the shortage of beds in the departments.
In addition, the hospital’s central heating and cooling system has been out of order for the last few years. The hospital has had to spend on alternative arrangements for air-conditioning.
Speaking with The Express Tribune, HFH Managing Director Dr Arshad Ali Sabir said the hospital management and staff are trying their best to provide services to patients with the resources available to them.
Sabir said the hospital is overburdened with high number of patients from Rawalpindi, Attock and other regions in the Potohar. He added that up-gradation of various sections at HFH has begun.
The missionary hospital was established in 1946 with 250 beds.
Emergency hiring: ‘Doctors and nurses to be recruited’
A decision has been made to conduct a phased recruitment drive for doctors and nurses to fulfil staff shortage at HFH.
In the first phase, as many as 50 nurses and four specialist doctors will be hired.
The decision to recruit the additional staff was made recently during a visit to HFH by Punjab Health Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik.
During the secretary’s visit, Allied Hospitals and Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Dr Muhammad Umar said the shortage of specialist doctors and nursing staff was creating difficulties in providing the best possible care for patients.
Taking notice of the issue, the health secretary ordered for the immediate recruitment of the additional staff, adding that the selection should be merit-based and timely.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2015.