ISLAMABAD, Dec 11: A special grant of Rs350 million approved by the Ministry of Finance last month for replacing long worn out medical equipment in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has delighted and depressed Pims’ managers at the same time, Dawn has learnt.

“How can we possibly purchase all the equipment within three months when every purchase order has to be cleared by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority? It is a lengthy process,” said a Pims official, not willing to give his name.

To many staff members of Pims the three-month condition made the grant look more an eyewash.

Executive Director of Pims Prof Riaz Warraich too found the three-month limit “quite unrealistic” but said his management would try to make the purchases within the time limit.

“If we follow the guidelines to the letter, we have to give at least 15 days to suppliers to respond to our advertisements in the national dailies for the electro mechanical equipment we need. Short listing the suppliers and processing their bids could take another two months,” he explained to Dawn.

“We have come up with an alternative,” he said. “We are contacting the companies which were already short listed in different tenders for purchase of equipment and upgrade the machines already ordered. Hopefully, we will be able to upgrade a number of equipment on order.”

Pims sources said the management had asked for Rs600 million for replacing worn out machines and other medical equipment.

The “peanuts” it got would not steer it clear of “an engineering disaster completely”.

Several departments of the hospital are short of crucial operating theatre equipment, ventilators, diathermy machines needed for local heating of bodily tissues for medical purposes.

Anaesthesia equipment and infusion pumps are not available and have led to inordinate delays in conducting simple procedures.

Other equipment that has degenerated, or become obsolete, over the years include X-Ray and ultrasound machines, and even generators.

“We conduct nearly 100 procedures on daily basis. Some are delayed because one or the other machine is found out of order, with no replacement or quick repairs readily available,” confided a Pims doctor to Dawn.

A ban on the purchase of “all types of physical assets and vehicles” announced by the finance ministry in August 2011 left the Pims staff with no choice but to make do with whatever equipment is available.

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