LAHORE: The Shaikh Zayed Hospital (SZH) is hit by adhocism as the institute has been awaiting appointment of permanent officers/heads for the last many years.

The sorry state of affairs can be gauged from the fact that the chairman of 1,025-bed largest teaching institute has been heading the health facility on a look-after basis since May 2019.

The administrative control of the Shaikh Zayed Medical Complex Lahore was transferred from the province of Punjab to the federal government on April 22, 2019 through a notification issued by the Cabinet Division, Islamabad.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) dispensation in Punjab and Centre did not make permanent appointments of heads of key sections including the chairman.

An official privy to the information said Prof Mateen Izhar who was currently running the institute on a look-after basis, retired on Wednesday (Nov 24).

Similarly, he said, the institute has no permanent deputy dean of the Post Graduate Medical Institute (PGMI) and nursing superintendent as well.

The complex housing multiple institutes is also being run without permanent director finance.The official said all the six positions of the deputy and assistant administrators had been lying vacant for many years.

The SZH is also functioning without institute of nursing health sciences director, he said adding that all the above-mentioned slots were being looked after on a daily basis, mostly by ‘irrelevant’ officials.

The official said the SZH has been one of the best public sector institutes of the country due to the internationally acclaimed health services particularly in liver and kidney transplant.

It was also the only public sector hospital which was recognised for providing the state-of-the-art nephrology services as it was housing largest dialysis centre for the kidney patients.Unfortunately, the official said, the institute was headed so far by only two permanently appointed heads - Prof Zafar Iqbal and Prof Farid Ahmad Khan.

Earlier, Prof Anwar A Khan had also served the institute as chairman for nearly eight years or so and that too on an additional charge basis.

After the transfer of the Shaikh Zayed Medical Complex from province to the cabinet division Islamabad in 2019, the employees hoped that the PTI government would bring about some relief for them. However, their hope dashed when the process of making appointment of regular/permanent heads of the units and the institute was ‘abandoned’ to facilitate the ‘irrelevant officials’ who were running it on a temporarily basis.

The official said presently several posts of the medics, nurses, paramedics are lying vacant while many wards/departments are functioning by a few consultants.

The institute’s employees including medics and nurses had to face problems for non-payment of salaries for a certain period.

Following the seriousness of the matter, the six-member board of governor of the Shaikh Zayed Hospital held a meeting last week.

The BoG comprised former dean of the Children Hospital Lahore Prof Dr Sajid Maqbool, a senior pulmonologist from a private hospital Prof Rashid Siddique, a tax lawyer Naveed Andrabi and Umair Virk, Niaz Malik and Mrs Sharmim Ahmad having business background.

The meeting held a brainstorming session for a couple of hours and decided to select Prof Sajid Maqbool the chairman of the BoG from amongst the members, the official said.

He said Prof Mateen Izhar who is retiring on Nov 24 as acting chairman of the institute, is again trying to hold the same post for another ‘indefinite period’.

However, pressure has been exerted from within the institute on the BoG to make appointment of next head of the institute on a permanent basis from the senior most faculty members.

A spokesperson for the Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Dr Ashtar Zaidi, said the institute’s administration was trying to resolve all the pending issues to improve management and patient care.

He said the BoG discussed various options in the brainstorming session to fill all the vacant slots.

“All the appointments would be made as per the Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) act which has been enforced,” he said adding that the slots would be advertised according to the given rules.

The spokesperson said the BoG met to improve deficiencies in order to provide best treatment facilities to patients.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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