Sorry state of affairs at Peshawar hospital forces board member to resign

Updated October 21, 2019

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A senior member of the Board of Governors of Khyber Teaching Hospital has resigned apparently owing to mere frustration by seeing the deteriorating affairs of the major health facility, according to sources.
— AFP/File
A senior member of the Board of Governors of Khyber Teaching Hospital has resigned apparently owing to mere frustration by seeing the deteriorating affairs of the major health facility, according to sources. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: A senior member of the Board of Governors of Khyber Teaching Hospital has resigned apparently owing to mere frustration by seeing the deteriorating affairs of the major health facility, according to sources.

Dr Mian Tahir Shah, having FRCS from UK to his credit in general surgery, has sent his resignation to health secretary citing personal reasons but sources at the hospital attribute his decision to dismal state of affairs at KTH.

Dr Tahir Shah, a resident of Charsadda, is a graduate of Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad, and currently works as consultant surgeon in Saudi Arabia.

Only two of six BoG members are practicing medical doctors

The PTI-led government in its first tenure in the province passed Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015 to do away with the 70-year-old rotten system and incorporate reforms to improve patients’ care.

Under the law, BoGs were formed initially in three teaching hospitals, including KTH, to implement the reforms. Dr Tahir Shah, who remained member of BoG of Lady Reading Hospital for three years, was assigned the membership of KTH board in 2018. He quit the board on Saturday.

All BoG members work voluntarily.

Sources said that of the six members of BoG of KTH, only two were practicing medical doctors. The third one, Dr Nadeem, has a long history of pharmaceutical job and business in the past which can lead to conflict of interest.

Dr Faisal Sultan, the chairman of the board, is chief executive officer of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore. Mian Tahir Shah is a consultant surgeon and chair of trauma at one of the tertiary care hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The other three are non-medical people, bereft of any knowledge about hospitals’ operations.

Sources said that many a times the BoG members would delay responding to important emails of KTH by weeks that delayed progress on significant matters.

They said that some members were known for interference in the affairs of the hospitals at individual level and influencing the managerial decisions due to which the government’s reforms programme suffered a great deal.

“The hospital’s plan to purchase MRI machine could not be materialised despite availability of funds due to incompetence of the BoG, which is authorised under the law to take such decisions,” said sources. As a result, the lone old MRI machine was overburdened with long waiting for patients.

“The board is not able to take vital decision more so because its chairman Dr Faisal Sultan lives in Lahore and is preoccupied with SKMCH’s affairs and it is difficult for him to know the ground realities and address urgent issues swiftly,” said sources.

They said that most of time in board’s meetings time was taken by discussing trivial issues like staff conflict resolutions, promotions, salary increase and procurement issues with no or less time and attention given to affairs of improving patients’ care.

They said that pro-reforms people were dismayed by lack of encouragement rather the anti-reform people were accommodated more, many of whom still had ongoing litigation cases against the institution some way or the other.

Sources claimed that during the recent PMDC and CPSP inspections, some of the faculty members played a very negative role and Khyber Medical College achieved a comparatively low score but no action was taken against anyone.

The renovation process, started four years ago, is nowhere near completions and half of the wards are in miserable condition. The private rooms are not functional leading to huge revenue losses. The institution-based practice and pharmacies instead of generating revenue for the hospital are yet to be streamlined.

“The cleanliness condition in the hospital is also pathetic,” said sources. They said that clinical aspect of the hospital was also no exception.

“As expected, there is no progress towards setting up sub-specialties and grouping continues at the level of faculty and BoG members in the hospital,” said sources.

Dr Faisal Sultan and Dr Tahir Shah were not available for comments.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019