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PESHAWAR: Lack of planning by the government has jeopardised the future of purpose-built structures housing skill laboratory, auditorium and conference room etc at Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI), according to sources.

They said that government allocated Rs250 million for the construction of state-of-the-art skill laboratory to provide training to doctors, medical students and teachers besides upgradation other facilities at PGMI.

“However, devolution of PGMI to the respective medical colleges and hospitals under Medical Teaching Institutions Reform Act, 2015, has jeopardised the future of these facilities which are likely to be completed by end of this year,” sources said.

They said that the under-constructions facilities were designed to house a big laboratory where the trainee surgeons could operate on dummies like any other developed country of the world but the government devolved PGMI and planned to set up those facilities at each of medical teaching institution. However, most of the nine hospitals, where the health reforms law was being implanted, lacked libraries and space to establish skill laboratories, they added.

Lack of planning puts at risk future of new facilities at the institute

Sources said that the skill laboratory existed only in Dow Medical College while Agha Khan University Hospital Karachi started it that year. They said that the laboratory was approved by the present government on the recommendations of the PGMI to improve state of training facilities for specialist doctors and improve patients’ care.

According to the plan, a vet lab was also approved to facilitate the doctors to operate on animals before getting involved in procedures performed on humans. The facility was supposed to have quality control centre, 300-seat auditorium and students-teachers facilitation centre besides accommodation and mess for the doctors coming here for training as part of their specialisation. A senior consultant, who was involved in the whole process, expressed surprise as to why the government approved the amount last year and why it was not adamant to place it at the disposal of Hayatabad Medical Complex, one of the MTI-covered facility near which the PGMI’s building was located.

He said that government should have thought last year that according to the new law PGMI had to be devolved and there was no need for such a huge infrastructure. The government passed the law in January last year which clearly stated that PGMI would be devolved but still the new structures were approved and inaugurated by the setting health minister.

Sources said that the three-storey building, according to the plan, would ultimately be handed over to HMC for launching the institution-based practice (IBP). The PGMI, which is under health department presently, is likely to be given to the HMC where Board of Governors has been complaining about lack of space to start institution-based practice, one of the key components of the new law. “The surgeons need to be given training on machines and equipment to enable them to perform endoscopy and other high-tech procedures,” they said.

The skill lab, which was supposed to offer high-tech training facilities to doctors specialising in laparoscopy and operate on patients for kidney and gall stones etc and impart them dissection techniques in line with latest developments in advanced procedures, was unlikely to see light of the day as it would be given to HMC, sources said.

The health minister and health secretary didn’t respond to the phone calls made by this reporter to get their comments.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2016