PESHAWAR: The medical teaching institutions have begun functioning six days a week in line with the directives of the policy board governing them despite reservations.

The new timings are introduced on the orders of the health department to provide “uninterrupted care to patients,” according to officials.

They said the provincial capital’s MTIs, including Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar Institute of Cardiology and Khyber Teaching Hospital, had shifted to six days a week, while the Hayatabad Medical Complex and others would follow suit.

On Saturday, chairman the KTH Board of Governors Dr Umar Ayub Khan and hospital director Dr Mohammad Zafar Afridi examined services at outpatient departments, labs and radiology unit.

Spokesman for the LRH Mohammad Asim told Dawn that OPDs would remain open from 8am to 2pm on Monday through Friday and 12noon on Saturday.

A BoG chairman insists new timings will badly affect care at teaching institutions

He said previously, hospital timings were from 8am to 4pm.

The spokesman said the IBP would remain operational from 2pm to 8pm between Monday and Friday and until 4pm on Saturday.

He said the initiative was likely to hamper services as feared by members of the MTI BoGs in the policy board’s meeting.

“We highlighted the issues we might confront after the abolition of Saturday holiday as surgical procedures at all MTIs are different from those conducted at hospitals that aren’t MTIs. Our doctors work from 8am to 4am six days a week and each of them remain present at the hospital for 12 hours a day,” said the board chairman at a teaching hospital.

He said he had informed the policy board prior to the issuance of the notification that the consultants catered to OPD patients or remained busy in operating theatres, wards or diagnostic departments from 8am to 4pm and then attended to private patients in institution-based practice in hospitals in the evening. The new order will disturb that routine,” he said.

The chairman of another MTI BoG said he had opposed the order fearing it would badly affect its efficiency and would reduce the time available for elective surgeries.

He, however, said the board had implemented the new timings following the government’s orders.

“In most MTIs, doctors, paramedics, nurses and support staff remain on duty seven days a week as they cannot leave admitted patients unattended,” he said.

The chairman said consultants did morning and evening rounds and attended to critically-ill and emergency patients even on Sundays.

He said accidents and emergency departments stayed open all through the week with 80 per cent of patients with routine health problems availed themselves of services, so keeping OPDs shut on Saturday wasn’t an issue.

A consultant told Dawn that it would be very difficult to continue with a six days working week.

“I do official duty until 4pm and then IBP until 8pm. After that, I will operate on patients admitted from IBP for night as private patients aren’t allowed to be operated upon in the morning,” he said.

The consultant said he and others were already working 60 hours a week.

He said some consultants had to leave hospitals after midnight as they remained busy in operating theatres with private cases and reached the hospital at 8am for official duty.

The consultant said most consultants doing IBP had apprised their MTI BoGs of the issue.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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