Many patients in Pims are treated on stretchers, Senate body told

Updated 15 Jan 2020

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The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) is not able to provide healthcare facilities to a large number of people, Pims Executive Director Dr Ansar Maxood told a Senate committee on Tuesday. — File
The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) is not able to provide healthcare facilities to a large number of people, Pims Executive Director Dr Ansar Maxood told a Senate committee on Tuesday. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) is not able to provide healthcare facilities to a large number of people, Pims Executive Director Dr Ansar Maxood told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS), Dr Maxood said: “During the last year, 1.4 million patients visited the outpatient department and 702,000 patients visited the hospital’s emergency department. It is beyond our capacity to deal with [this many] patients.”

He said that even though there are 1,200 beds in the hospital, many patients are treated on stretchers because there are no empty beds.

He added that over the years the hospital has not been given the number of staff it requires.

“A number of employees could beappointed in different departments, such as the Cardiac Centre,” he said.

Senator Khushbakht Shujaat says a decline in performance of various hospital depts seen over the last four years

Committee chair Senator Khushbakht Shujaat noted a decline in the performance of various hospital departments over the last four years. She expressed concern about a private pharmacy at the hospital and directed for standard operating procedure for the pharmacy to be ensured.

Reviewing an investigation into the death of Dr Adnan Mehboob, allegedly due to negligence by the Pims Burns Centre, the committee was told that NHS secretary has constituted a fact-finding inquiry committee in this regard.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said a final report would be submitted to the committee soon.

Dr Mehboob, 26, died at the Pims Burns Centre last February because of the lack of a dialysis machine and bed at the hospital.

He was a doctor at the Mingora Hospital who was injured in an explosion caused by a gas leak in his room on Feb 5, 2019, at 1am. As there are no burns centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Mehboob was first taken to a centre in Wah Cantt where he received first aid and then referred to Nescom Hospital. Nescom Hospital did not have any empty beds, so he was brought to Pims.

Staff at the Pims Burns Centre refused to admit Dr Mehmood because no beds were available. When he was finally admitted, a nephrologist said he should undergo dialysis but there were no dialysis machines at the centre.

The staff suggested his family arrange for a portable machine, without which he may not have survived. His family tried to obtain a machine from the Pims dialysis centre but staff told them they could not hand the machine over without permission from the head of department and suggested the family wait until morning, by which time Dr Mehboob had died.

NHS ministry to be renamed, restructured

According to an official statement from the NHS ministry, the cabinet decided on Tuesday to approve a proposal for structural and organisational reforms in the Ministry of NHS.

The cabinet said that restructuring the ministry was essential for fulfilling the government’s vision. It approved a “correction of imbalance” in technical and administrative positions from the existing 80pc of staff with no health background to 70pc technical staff and 30pc administrative staff.

The cabinet also approved in principle changing the NHS ministry’s name to the Ministry of Health and Population.

The statement added: “As part of the reform, a completely new organogram has been created, keeping in view key positions are filled by technical experts alongside civil servants in high administrative positions that will foster an enabling role for the ministry to function effectively and transparently.

“Accompanying this reform, a new service for health among the cadres of civil services of Pakistan was approved by the cabinet. This service will train civil servants for the newly reformed ministry, further increasing performance and sustainability of the ministry to accomplish its tasks.”

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020