GUJRAT: More than half of the sanctioned positions at the Parvez Elahi Institute of Cardiology (PEIC), Wazirabad, have remained vacant for a long time, making it difficult for the administration to run the facility to capacity, sources say.

Wazirabad is located in the country’s golden industrial triangle of Gujrat, Sialkot, and Gujranwala, where then-chief minister Parvez Elahi lay the groundwork for the 200-bed cardiology facility in 2007.

According to a briefing to Punjab Health Minister, Dr Yasmeen Rashid during her visit to the hospital, 596 posts, of 1,041, are lying vacant, and of them, 17 posts are of medical officers, and 28 of senior doctors.

According to hospital sources, the main hurdles in the upgrade of the health center’s capacity are procedural hiccups in the recruitment of workers and the acquisition of new apparatus and equipment.

Up to 1,000 cardiac surgeries have been performed at the PEIC since 2018. In 2022 alone, 1,537 angiographies and 508 angioplasties have been undertaken. The wait time for angiography is three months and for angioplasty, it is three weeks.

A senior official told Dawn the recent visits of the minister and the health secretary to the hospital would help improve the facilities of the hospital as they were requested to pay attention to the hospital’s issues.

He said some known cardiologists also visited the hospital to suggest improved facilities for the PEIC.

The health department, however, has yet to advertise the posts of doctors despite the removal of a ban on recruitment.

A senior doctor said that the unavailability of residences for doctors was the core reason for the shortage of doctors.

He said hospital transport services were not functional, while allowances being offered were not enough to meet the cost thus forcing them to leave the job.

Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, in his recent address to PML-Q workers in Gujrat, announced enhancing the capacity of the PEIC to 500 beds from 200 beds as well as construction of Wazirabad-Sialkot road for improvement of approach roads to the facility.

The Punjab government recently changed the Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology to the PEIC.

The board of management of the hospital was reconstituted and Sumaira Elahi, the sister of PML Q chief Shujaat Hussain, was made the chairperson of the board last week.

Since its opening in 2014, the hospital remained with the staff and medical equipment to cater to 100 beds and the medical equipment required to make it fully functional.

Sources said that the cardio emergency and indoor services were started in 2018 by the caretaker Punjab government, whereas cardiac surgery and invasive procedures were also launched. The hospital, however, started its primary PCI facilities in June 2021.

Moreover, four new echocardiography machines and one cath lab were installed in the fiscal year and one CT angiography machine is about to start functioning.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022

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