RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has started surveillance of staff working at all health facilities, including district and tehsil headquarters hospitals, to check unnecessary use of mobile phones during duty hours.

According to sources, the provincial government’s primary and secondary healthcare department has informed the chief executive officers and medical superintendents of the DHQ and THQ hospitals, incharges of basic health units, rural health units and dispensaries that their staff members were under surveillance by different teams.

The provincial authorities said in a letter that it had been noticed that staff on duty made unnecessary phone calls during office hours. The authorities also sent photographs of some staff using mobile phones during working hours.

Punjab govt informs heads of DHQ and THQ hospitals that their employees are under surveillance to check use of mobile phones

The use of mobile phones by hospital staff was affecting the public service delivery causing problems to the patients and their attendants.

The medical superintendents have been directed to take necessary measures and initiate action against employees found using mobile phones for private calls during office hours.

When District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Medical Superintendent Dr Khalid Randhawa was contacted, he told Dawn that he had displayed the directives in different wards of the hospital and also verbally asked the staff to stop using mobile phones during office hours.

“Yes, the hospital staff is following the directives,” the MS said.

However, a staff member disputed the MS’s claim saying nobody was following the directives as the employees were still using mobile phones. “There is no check on the use of mobile phones in our hospital,” he said.

He was of the view that mobile phones should have been banned in the hospital otherwise there was no use of asking the staff not to use them.

A senior doctor at Benazir Bhutto Hospital said the employees, especially doctors, were concerned about the government directives because the hospital’s telephone exchange was obsolete and faulty.

“How a doctor would be able to contact another doctor or nursing staff when they are not allowed to use mobile phones. Would it not be difficult for a patient to contact a doctor from outside the hospital?”

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2018

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