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PESHAWAR: The patients have been benefiting from the services of consultants following the new timings of outpatient department (OPD) started last month at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, according to officials.

LRH, the largest health facility of the province, is the first among the four medical institutions where government has enforced Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015.

“The number of patients is increasing, though slowly, because people, who are used to previous timings, don’t know about it,” said officials.

The consultants complained that they received few patients in the evening due to lack of publicity by administration to let people know about the prolonged schedule at OPD.

Under the new duty hours, consultants sit in OPD from 8am to 4pm. Every ward has about four consultants, including professor, associate professor, assistant professor and senior registrar, who perform duty at the OPD on rotational basis.

The hospital got about 50 patients in evening shift at the beginning that reached 300, according to the record.

The people have been visiting the hospital in morning from 8am to 2pm. But they can now get examined by consultants on Rs10 chit in outpatients’ clinic till 4pm.

The hospital receives 3,500 to 5,000 patients in the morning every day. The administration is scaling up public awareness regarding starting specialist OPD in the evening to divert patients from morning.

The patients, however, say that they are seen by specialist in OPD and investigations are carried out in the hospital laboratory owing to which they don’t visit private clinics of the doctors. “As a matter of routine we used to go to Dabgari Gardens, where private health facilities are located, but now LRH is a better choice,” said a patient from Nowshera.

Under the previous system, doctors used to sit in OPD till 2am at the teaching hospitals, but now they remain present at the OPD till 4pm.

The doctors say that the new system has proved effective in dealing with chronically-ill patients, who are advised tests by the consultants. The patients don’t find the consultants missing when they come back with results of the tests as the new mechanism has enabled people to get treatment the same day.

The move has also benefited the hospitalised patients, who require expert opinion of other consultants. If a patient admitted to the surgery ward requires services of a physician, he can get the same in the morning.

Now the services of consultants are available till evening. The admitted patients, who were formerly dependent on the trainee medical officers in the evening, now have the services of consultants.

Prof Nausherwan Burki, chairman Board of Governors at LRH, told Dawn that the outpatient clinics were run from 8am to 4pm form Monday to Friday and from 8am to 12 noon on Saturday. “The consultants, who cover Saturday morning, take Friday afternoon off from 12pm to 4pm. The clinics are pretty busy at the hospital and number of patients is increasing day by day,” he added.

The specialists of skin, medical, surgical, eye, dentistry, pulmonology, gynea and children are available five days a week till evening while people with diseases relating to neurology, orthopaedic and psychiatry can be seen four days a week. According to schedule, neuro surgery, cardio vascular, cardio thoracic, urology, nephrology, paeds and plastic surgery will take place two days per week. Specialists will sit in medical, surgical, children, orthopedic, gynea and neuro surgery OPD till 12:30 on every Saturday.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2016